Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education trustees are discussing whether the school district's Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) is still relevant given the state mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.
At Tuesday night's work session, BOE President James March questioned the need for the group and the time demands on district administrators and their involvement with the BAC. The committee was formed several years ago with the goals of providing advice on the budget and also to provide greater transparency on district finances.
"I think the board has to give this full consideration and we need to be specific to the purpose of the BAC," March said, indicating he believes the tax levy requirement fulfills what the BAC was focused on in terms of school tax concerns.
But some board of education members expressed caution on disbanding the group noting its role in helping provide full transparency on budget decisions and in garnering budget support at vote time.
"The BAC is still appropriate and still has a role," said Trustee John Lynch, who served as BAC for four years — the past two years as chairman — prior to his election to the BOE this past May. Fellow trustee Rebecca Campbell was a three-year member of the advisory committee prior to her election in May.
"I think the adminstration's time working with the BAC was and is worthwhile," Lynch said, questioning district finance administrator Michael Cipriani on his opinion.
"Yes our time working with the BAC is worthwhile," responded Cipriani.
Trustee Diane D'Angelo suggested having a future public discussion about the past role of the BAC as it existed and what it can provide in the future.
"It's a whole different ball game at this point. Maybe there is a need for a new committee to advise us," she said, noting several topics such as transportation, enhancing science curriculum and BOCES as issues that could be reviewed by the BAC.
"And it's hard to know how this tax cap will eventually work out," she said, adding she believes the BAC provides a great benefit and "opens up the district finances to the community."
March said the topic may be put on the board's November's work session for greater discussion.
"We need to give this consideration before we move to activate its role (for the current school year)," he said.