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Voters to decide on $99.9 million proposed school budget with a 2.60 percent tax levy increase 

2018-19 proposal builds brighter future for our students

On Tuesday, May 15, voters in the Minisink Valley Central School District will decide on a $99.9 million proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. This budget increases spending by 2.65 percent, or $2.6 million from the current year, and includes a 2.60 percent tax levy increase.

The proposed 2.60 percent increase in the tax levy – the total amount of money to be raised through property taxes – is 0.56 percent below the district’s 3.16 percent tax cap calculation, as defined by the state’s tax levy limit law. As a result, the budget can be approved by a simple majority (50 percent plus one).

“Our proposed budget ensures the continued enhancement of learning opportunities for all our students, while balancing the needs of our taxpayers and our fiscal responsibility,” said Superintendent Brian C. Monahan.

Residents will also decide on bus purchases (Proposition 2), and elect three members to the Board of Education. Four candidates will appear on the ballot. 

Cost containment, state aid and tax levy revenues

The self-funded health plan established in 2016-17, and the recently established self-funded workers’ compensation insurance plan, are projected to save the district in excess of $1 million in 2017-18. Comparable savings are projected for 2018-19.

An estimated increase in state aid of $697,000, or 1.70 percent, combined with the following savings and revenue, helped balance Minisink’s proposed 2018-19 school budget:

Decrease in the pension rate for support staff reduced budgeted expenditures by approximately $520,000

Projected salary costs for employees were partially offset by increased employee contributions toward health insurance premiums, achieved in recent contract negotiations with all units.

A tax levy increase of 2.60 percent would generate approximately $1,134,000 in new revenue.

 

2018-19 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

1:1 Device Initiative

In today’s world and learning environment, learning standards are infused with lifelong practices that encompass digital literacy. Students must learn how to communicate effectively, work collaboratively, address problems creatively, and think critically about their world.

To rise to the challenge, the district is investing in a 1:1 Device Initiative over the course of a five-year period. This district-wide rollout will provide individualized access to 21st century tools and skills for all students and teachers.

“It is our educational mission to meet and exceed New York State Learning Standards, while preparing our students to be productive, responsible individuals, and lifelong learners,” Mr. Monahan said

In the proposed budget, the addition of three technology assistants and one secretary for information technology and professional learning would provide the necessary supports for the initiative. Through years of careful planning, including upgrades to the district network and the creation of the Office of Professional Learning, the district is prepared to launch a sustainable 1:1 Device Initiative.

Instructional Enhancements

Proposed instructional enhancements to support personalized learning and student success include the addition of a special education teacher at the high school, three part-time teacher aides at Otisville Elementary, and a secretary for Pupil Personnel Services.

Other additions

The proposed budget reinstates boys football for freshmen students, and adds one position to buildings and grounds to assist in the care of buildings and athletic fields.

 

ALSO ON THE BALLOT…


BOARD OF EDUCATION ELECTIONS

Residents will elect three members to the Board of Education. There are three 3-year-term seats commencing July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021. Voters will decide from the following candidates: Christopher Briecke, Kathlee DeRose, Linda Horan, and Catherine Prezioso. Click here for candidate bios and statements.


PROPOSITION 2: PURCHASE OF 11 SCHOOL BUSES

Also on the May 15 ballot, voters will decide on a proposition for the purchase of 11 school buses in the amount of $954,539, as part of the district’s continuing 10-year replacement plan. Anticipated purchases include six 66-passenger buses, one 30-passenger bus, and four 7-passenger minivans.

State transportation aid will fund approximately 75 percent, or $715,904, 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 94-vehicle fleet that is both safe and efficient.

By continuing the bus replacement plan, the proposed purchases would allow the district to retire 12 high-mileage buses – 135,000 to 259,000 miles – that are increasingly more costly to maintain.