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Thursday May 16, 2019 at 4:00pm Age: 9 days
Category: District

VOTERS TO DECIDE ON $97.47 MILLION SCHOOL BUDGET PROPOSAL WITH A 7.97 PERCENT TAX LEVY INCREASE ON MAY 21


2019-20 proposal preserves all student programs

On Tuesday, May 21, Minisink Valley Central School District voters will decide on a $97.47 million proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year. This budget decreases spending by 2.53 percent, or $2.5 million, from the current year, and includes a 7.97 percent tax levy increase.

The proposed increase in the tax levy—the total amount of money to be raised through property taxes – is above the district’s maximum allowable level limit of -0.47 percent, as determined by the state’s tax cap law. As a result, the budget must have a super-majority to pass—meaning, 60 percent plus one.

“Our proposed budget will preserve high quality academic and co-curricular programs and opportunities for all our students, while being mindful of the use of taxpayer dollars,” said Superintendent Brian C. Monahan.

Residents will also decide on a bus purchase and elect three members to the Board of Education.

There are three incumbent candidates for three, 3-year-term seats commencing July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022. In the order they will appear on the ballot, the candidates are Thomas Salamone, Joseph Flaherty and William Cooper. 

Factors affecting the proposed budget and tax levy increase

  • A projected decrease of $1.39 million in state aid for the 2019-20 year.
  • Increasing operating expenses over the past three years, while state aid has lagged behind.
  • Conservative tax levies over the past three years.
  • A projected deficit for the 2018-19 budget year.
  • Contractual increases in employee salaries and benefits.
  • A -0.47 tax levy cap, resulting in less revenue available to the district.

“Over the last few years, we have been able to build an outstanding student program to offer our students the greatest opportunity to be college and career ready,” Mr. Monahan said. “We know this is critically important to our community. Throughout our budget preparation work, we examined every opportunity to reduce costs without impacting our student programs and services.”

A three-year plan to balance the budget and restore long-term fiscal stability

The proposed 2019-20 budget is the first phase of the district’s three-year plan to balance the budget and restore the long-term fiscal stability of school finances. The plan would lessen the impact on tax payers while preserving student programs by implementing the following:

  • Cost containment through staff attrition and retirements, due to declining enrollment.
  • Reduction or deferral of expenses in equipment, supplies and contractual services.
  • Use of fund balance.
  • Tax levy increase.

What does the proposed 7.97 percent tax levy increase mean for homeowners?

For a resident owning a home with a $300,000 fair-market value in 2018-19, the projected tax increase for 2019-20 would be $535 a year*, or $45 more per month.

* Tax increase is a projection based on current equalization rates and assessments available at this time.


ALSO ON THE BALLOT...

Board of Education Candidates

Residents will elect three members to the Board of Education. There are three incumbent candidates for three, 3-year-term seats commencing July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022. In the order they will appear on the ballot, the candidates are Thomas Salamone, Joseph Flaherty and William Cooper.

Proposition 2: Purchase of school buses

Also on the May 21 ballot, voters will decide on a proposition for the anticipated purchase of 10 school buses in the amount of $1,025,563, as part of the district’s continuing 10-year replacement plan.

Anticipated bus purchases include five 72-passenger, four 30-passenger, and one 24-passenger bus with a wheelchair lift.

State transportation aid will fund approximately 76 percent, or $779,428, of the bus purchase costs, over a five-year period.

Recognizing that older, high-mileage vehicles cost more to keep on the road, the replacement plan is designed to evenly spread out the cost of maintaining a 92-vehicle fleet that is both safe and efficient.

By continuing the bus replacement plan, the proposed purchases would allow the district to retire 14 buses—some with mileage as high as 165,000 miles—and/or buses that are increasingly costlier to maintain.

Planned replacement of buses ensures the district can provide safe, reliable transportation for students each year.

The state provides transportation aid for bus replacement purchases to incentivize districts to maintain their bus fleet.

2019-20 BUDGET NEWSLETTER 

The 2019-20 proposed-budget newsletter should have arrived in your mailbox by now. It includes this and additional information, including proposed expenditures by category, estimate revenues, budget-year to budget-year comparisons, and the state's required budget notice. The document also features voter and polling information and a question-and-answer section.  

For articles about the budget development process, a slide presentation on the proposed budget, and school budgets in general, please visit the budget page of the District's website at minisink.com