Although North Warren Central School District’s 2014-15 budget only calls for a 1.6 percent increase in the tax levy, it exceeds the state’s so-called 2 percent tax cap, according to a complex formula. The result? Approval of the budget requires a super-majority of voters will be required. Voting in area school districts takes place Tuesday May 20.
Residents of northern Warren County will be going to the polls Tuesday May 20 to cast votes on their local school districts’ 2014-15 budgets — and all but one of the spending plans are within the state’s so-called 2 percent tax cap.
North Warren Central School District’s proposed budget is the exception. Due to the provisions of the state’s complex tax-cap formula, the budget exceeds the tax cap although North Warren’s tax levy for 2014-15 only reflects a 1.6 percent increase over 2013-14. To not exceed the tax cap, North Warren’s proposed 2014-15 tax levy would have had to reflect a zero percent tax increase.
Because North Warren’s budget exceeds the tax cap, it will require the approval of at least 60 percent of voters, which has occurred routinely over the past decade. If less than that number of residents cast votes for approval, the school board can then present a revised budget or the same one for a second vote. After a second defeat, the district must adopt a contingency budget with no tax-levy increase.
North Warren’s proposed 2014-15 budget calls for expenditures of $12.55 million, a 2.16 percent increase over the present year. The spending plan calls for drawing on $350,000 of fund balance.
Increases in fuel and utility costs, and boosted expenses attributable to employee retirement and special education are responsible for the budget increase, according to figures released by the school board.
Five teachers are to retire at the end of this school year, but only two of them will be replaced, according to a budget memorandum issued by the school administration. There are no reductions in programs, but the district will be postponing some planned technology upgrades. The budget allows for one part-time science position to be increased to full-time to meet new state academic standards.
The ballot will include a proposition to create a new capital reserve fund by transferring $2.1 million from an existing repair reserve fund. The money is to be used to replace a 16-year-old roof and upgrade heating and air conditioning systems at the k-12 school. Establishing this capital reserve fund will not increase taxes, but it will allow access to state grants, according to the administration. The vote is to be held from noon to 8 p.m May 20 in the school atrium.
Residents of the Lake George School District will be voting on a budget that calls for $21.77 million in expenditures, up 2.85 percent from 2013-14, yet is within the allowable limit of the state’s 2 percent tax cap formula. The tax levy $18.25 million reflects a 1.65 percent from 2013-14. The spending plan draws on $400,000 of appropriated reserves and $902,291 of fund balance.
The budget maintains all programs and continues technology enhancement initiatives, according to school officials.
On the ballot will be a proposition for the purchase of one 65-passenger bus at a cost not to exceed $106,400. The purchase will not impact the 2014-15 tax levy, but will cost local taxpayers about $24,000 the following year.
Owners of a 200,000 home with a present tax bill of $1,296 would see it increase in 2014-15 by $21 to $26.
In the Warrensburg School District, the proposed 2014-15 budget calls for expenditures of $19,797,702, an increase of $657,802, or 3.4 percent from the present year. This translates to an 1.85 percent increase in the tax levy. This is the third consecutive year the district’s budget will have a tax levy increase that is well below the tax cap limit.
The budget specifies that $700,000 is to be drawn from fund balance. Enrollment is stable at 800, but down about 20 percent from 15 to 20 years ago.
As state aid to schools for 2014-15 includes a more generous reimbursement rate for educating students with disabilities, Warrensburg’s proposed budget results in no loss of academic programming, sports, or sanctioned school activities including clubs. It also provides funding for a summer elementary reading program. The budget also pays for an additional K-12 staff member who will assist with student discipline and academic intervention work.
A second ballot proposition calls for the lease of three replacement buses. A third proposition provides for establishing a capital reserve fund for replacement of the Warrensburg Elementary School roof and any other related upgrades. The fund is to be initially bankrolled by the transfer of up to $800,000 from unassigned fund balance and drawing on remaining appropriations for upgrading the high school.
Voting is to be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Warrensburg High School gymnasium lobby.
The Bolton Central School Board has proposed a 2014-15 budget that provides $8,655,326 in expenditures, an increase of $100,272 or 1.28 percent over 2013-14. The tax levy of $7,079,409 reflects an increase of 0.6 percent. The budget draws $570,000 from reserve funds.
With the retirement of long-time superintendent of schools Ray Ciccarelli, the cost of his position is expected to plunge by about $30,000 — but the total administrative costs are only expected to go down only $8,000, according to district Business Manager Kathleen Dennin. She said that this 2014-15 budget maintains all school district programs.
“Everything is intact,” she said. Voting is to be held from noon to 8 p.m. May 20 in the school gym.