In an attempt to move the state budget process forward, the Sweet Home School Board has approved a resolution that supports school boards seeking to regain any additional costs incurred by the adoption of a late state budget.
Approved by a unanimous vote at Tuesday evening's meeting, the amendment was based on one originally approved by the Longwood School District, with the goal of assuring an on-time state budget.
Board President Heidi Dizer proposed the amendment to make sure it was in time to be included in the agenda of the New York School Boards Association meeting, to be held in Buffalo next month.
"Some things we could do include not to vote on our budget, unless a state budget is in place," suggested Dizer. "Another possibility is that we would not borrow money, which would impact our teachers, or cancel all athletics and extra-curricular activities." Those scenarios drew a cool response from board member Michael Morrow, who had reservations about the possible outcomes.
"I agree with the rationale,"said Morrow, on the frustration surrounding the overdue state budget, "but what scares me are the ramifications about not passing our budget." Morrow also voiced concern over holding athletics and extra-curricular activities "hostage."
"How do we hold (the state) accountable?" asked Dizer. "If the state does not have their budget in place by April 1, when they're required to do so, why do we have to have ours passed by May 14?"
Board member Carol Nowak wondered if not passing a district budget was legal, and Sweet Home School District Attorney Chris Trapp said there would be consequences.
"You have certain obligations as a district," said Trapp. "You would be opening yourself up to litigation."