NORTH CREEK - Johnsburg Central School's finance committee has begun the process of developing next year's school budget and has requested the input of local community members. Oct. 18 marked the first of five community budget workshops in which the public is welcome to learn the process and give their comments.
The remaining budget workshops will take place Monday, Dec. 6, to discuss sports and extra curricular activities; Tuesday, Jan. 18, to discuss special education and BOCES; and Monday, Mar. 7, to discuss staff, health care and retirement. The workshops take place in 126 of JCS at 6 p.m.
The finance committee, made of three school board members, superintendent Mike Markwica and business official Kathy Spring, is seeking to familiarize the public with their budget process as well as request public comment on each area of the budget. Those to be discussed make up roughly 85 percent of the entire school budget, with the rest being non-negotiable debt services.
"We want to give a detailed picture of what is actually in the budget," said Markwica.
Experts in each area will present a department-specific five-year budget history, which will include staffing, contractual items and supply trends. They will then present any requests for the upcoming budget to the finance committee. Following the presentation, the committee will ask for comments from the public.
The finance committee will then take the presented information as well as public comment into consideration when making decisions on the final budget in April.
"It is necessary for the public to have a solid knowledge of what is in the budget," said Spring. "We also want to reveal the creative process as well as proved a level of transparency."
Markwica noticed a need for transparency when many questions about the budget process arose during last year's budget planning process.
"If any member of the community attends all five meetings and the final budget presentation, they should have all their questions answered along with the opportunity to make comments," he said.
Markwica and Spring hope to generate some interest in the budget process within the public through the community workshops.