Hudson plans reserve fund with no date for vote

HUDSON–Although the Hudson City School District’s budget proposal and school board candidate list are not final, one item will be on the upcoming election ballot: a referendum on whether the district should establish a capital reserve fund.

The capital reserve fund–called the Renovation, Reconstruction, and Improvement of District Buildings and Reserve Fund–would set aside money “for the purpose of paying all or a part of the cost of renovation, construction, and improvements to the district’s buildings and facilities, including athletic facilities and fields.” For future capital projects, the money set aside in the fund would help the district make up the difference between what the project costs and what the state pays in “building aid.” The fund would hold a maximum of $5 million and last for 10 years.

The ballot question asks for voter approval to create the fund and does not allocate money to put in that account, said Jesse Boehme, district business administrator, by email April 9. He had discussed the fund at a school board meeting March 3.

Once the fund exists and money has been allocated, the district will need the approval of voters again every time the board proposes to spend any part of that money for any purpose.

The fund, once set up, would get its money from sources legally available to the district, including, “if possible,” unspent unassigned fund balances in the general fund at the end of each fiscal year and “funds transferred from other reserves,” according to Mr. Boehme and the text of a the resolution the board adopted April 7 to put creation of the new fund on the ballot.

‘Because of what’s going on… the numbers are not finalized yet.’

Jesse Boehme, business administrator

Hudson City School District

Mr. Boehme has presented a 2020-21 budget preliminary proposal–including expenditures and the tax levy–to the board, and he plans to “put out the final numbers in the coming weeks.” But “unfortunately, because of what’s going on and all the changes, the numbers are not finalized yet,” he said.

Another unresolved matter is who will be running for seats on the school board. The terms of two incumbent terms expire June 30, and incumbents are preparing to run again, Board Clerk Leslie Coons said by phone, April 8. The two incumbents are Carrie Otty (currently board president) and Sage Carter. At least one candidate from the community has also indicated an intention to run. However, Ms. Coons said, school districts have suspended accepting applications from potential candidates, and when the district will resume accepting applications is unknown.

School elections, originally slated for May 19, have been postponed until at least June 1, so school districts are preparing for them as if they will take place June 2, the first Tuesday after June 1. This gives everybody two more weeks to prepare. But, said Ms. Coons, “There’s so much unknown, it’s hard to speculate.”

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