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Projecting information on future budgets is always dicey, yet Pioneer Assistant Superintendent Nick Silvaroli took a shot at it during the Nov. 20 meeting of the Board of Education.


Mr. Silvaroli gave a presentation on Pioneer’s five-year financial outlook. He said this was based on Pioneer’s past history of revenues and spending, as well as contractual commitments to employees.


Based on these factors, Mr. Silvaroli said net of debt service for capital projects, he expects the district budget to grow in the range of 2 percent each year from the current $56.08 million. By 2023, Pioneer’s budget will be in the range of $62.06 million.  


Five-year revenue projections | Five-year Expense Projections


Some of the assumptions the projections were based on include:

  • The number of anticipated annual retirements
  • Reasonable increases in health insurance costs & teacher/employee retirement system costs
  • Steady discretionary spending
  • Modest increases in transportation, special ed and BOCES costs


Mr. Silvaroli said total dollar amounts of budget projections will also be influenced by the amount of debt service on any capital projects the district chooses to undertake.  But he noted that Pioneer projects have been designed to be budget neutral (capital reserves and building aid offset the cost of debt service) since the 2007 project and he anticipates this being the case for the immediate future.  As a result, Pioneer has been adding such improvements every few years since 2007 with no local budget impact.


On the revenue side, Mr. Silvaroli said he projects increases at about the same rate as the annual property tax cap—again in the 2 percent range. Pioneer will continue to receive state aid in the range of 70 percent. Other key revenue lines to watch include the state BOCES reimbursement and reimbursements on Medicaid and capital projects.


Mr. Silvaroli said the projections stress cautious use of the district’s assigned fund balance—Pioneer’s savings account—which is currently at $3.3 million and is forecast to be drawn down to $3.025 million in the next five years.


The major state aid category, Foundation Aid, is slated by Mr. Silvaroli to rise by 3 percent or more annually for the next five years, which is where he said it needs to be for everything else to balance. Mr. Silvaroli again reminded the board that Pioneer has lost $60-$70 million dollars over the last 10+ years due to the state’s refusal to fully fund Foundation Aid, a situation that appears to finally be changing, albeit slowly.


A summary of the Nov. 20 Board of Education meeting.