GHENT—Local school districts announced their proposed 2022-23 school budgets earlier this month. All school districts in the county hold elections on May 17 for residents to vote to approve the school budgets for the next school year and, in most districts, the election of school board members. District ballots also include propositions. School Boards in the six districts in the county have approved the proposed budget and will have public hearings in May.
The new state budget includes $31.5 billion in total school aid for 2023 school year, the highest level of state aid ever, according to a press release from Governor Kathy Hochul’s office. “This investment represents a year-to-year increase of $2.1 billion, or 7.2 %, compared to school year 2022, including a $1.5 billion or 7.7 % Foundation Aid increase,” says the release. Foundation Aid, first enacted in 2007-08, is the largest unrestricted aid category supporting public school district expenditures in the state.
“The opportunity to pursue a quality education is the silver bullet for so many New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said in the release.
Though most districts start planning months before, waiting for the state aid money is often the last piece of putting the proposed budget together. Districts also account for the state property tax cap, which are different for each district.
The Columbia Paper covered the Hudson City School District’s proposed budget of $54 million in the April 14 issue and the Ichabod Crane Central School District’s proposed budget of $46.6 in the April 21 issue. Those stories are also on our website at www.columbiapaper.com. There will also be school board elections and propositions on those ballots. Information is on the districts’ websites at www.hudsoncsd.org and www.ichabodcrane.org
In Chatham, the Board of Education voted on April 5 to adopt a proposed budget of $33,618,101 for the 2022-23 school year. The budget carries a projected tax levy increase of 2.75%, which is under the district’s 3.48% limit set by the state’s property tax levy cap.
According to the district website, spending is up $567,718, a 1.72 % increase from the 2021-22 budget.
The website also says, “Budget highlights include no cuts to student programs and the reallocation of a special education teaching position to increase special education support in grades k-1. Also included in the budget are bus replacement purchases and a capital project to replace the district’s letterboard sign on Woodbridge Avenue with a modern digital message board.”
The Chatham School Board also adopted a separate proposition that would create a Capital Reserve Fund that would allow the district to set aside up to $5 million over a 10-year period to fund future improvements to the district’s facilities.
The public hearing will be May 10 at 6 p.m. in the Chatham High School library.
The Chatham Central School District’s annual School Budget Vote and Board of Education Election will be held from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. in the MED gymnasium. See page 6 of this issue for information on School Board candidates. Information on the budget is at www.chathamcentralschools.com/page/budget-news
On April 13, the Germantown Central School District approved a proposed budget of $16,904,170, which carries a projected tax levy increase of 2.69%, which is also under the state’s tax cap. The budget is an increase of $572,988 from the current year’s budget. According to budget information from the district, $900,000 of fund balance was applied to the proposed budget to reduce the tax levy increase.
The district is holding their public hearing on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Germantown cafeteria.
The annual vote and board election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at Germantown Palatine Park.
Also on the ballot will be candidates to fill two open seats on the Board of Education. Both seats are for four-year terms beginning in July 2022. The following candidates will be listed on the ballot: Andrea Foley, Lester Olsson, and Lynn Polidoro. Candidate profiles are on the district’s website at germantowncsd.org
The board is proposing a $12,924,465 school budget for 2022-23. There is also a bus purchasing proposal on the ballot for two 66 passenger buses “at a cost not to exceed $251,000.”
The budget presentation on the district website noted that state aid was down from what was the original projection from the governor’s office. The projection was for $3,736,048 but the final state aid amount was $3,729,107 (a difference of $6,941).
There are also three vacancies on the Board of Education. Robert Long, John Kalisz and Charleen Kane will be on the ballot.
The district will hold a budget hearing on May 4 at Walter B. Howard (WBH) Elementary School at 7 p.m. Information is at www.newlebanoncsd.org
The budget vote and election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. in the WBH gymnasium.
The Taconic Hills Central School District is proposing a $39,684,157 budget which, according to their budget notice, is an increase of $728,151 or 1.87% from last year.
There are several propositions on the ballot including election of board members. This year there are a total of four board seats open. There are: 2 five-year terms commencing on July 1 and expiring on June 30, 2027 to succeed board member Ronald Morales and Alicia O’Rourke, whose term will expire on June 30; 1 two-year term commencing on July 1 and expiring on June 30, 2024; and 1 one-year term commencing on July 1 and expiring on June 30, 2023.
On the ballot are Ronald Morales, Brenda Halsted, Kevin Maisenbacher, Diane Burfeind, Alicia O’Rourke and Molly Delaney.
Proposition 3 is for the purchase of school buses. Voters are asked to authorize the district to acquire 3 school buses at a maximum aggregate cost of $393,500.
Proposition 4 is for a capital improvement project. That proposition reads, “shall the Board of Education be authorized to ‘reconstruct various district buildings and district sites, perform miscellaneous site work and improvements at various locations, and acquire original furnishings, equipment, machinery or apparatus required for the purpose for which such buildings are to be used, including but not limited to replacement of field lights and replacement of entrance doors and pay incidental costs related thereto at a maximum estimated cost of $691,112…and expend $691,112 from the district’s Fund Balance?”
Taconic Hills will hold a budget hearing on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. And the annual vote, held on May 17, is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Veterans Community Room.
Information is at www.taconichills.k12.ny.us/page/2022-23-proposed-budget