2024-25 preliminary proposed budget

The 2024-25 preliminary proposed budget was presented to the school board on March 4. Working sessions have been underway for two weeks and will continue for a third night at today’s 7 p.m. BOE meeting in the Middle School Cafeteria. The annual school budget vote and Board of Education election will take place on Tuesday, May 21 in the High School B-wing Gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“As we put our budget together and consider what’s coming next, you also know I am not a believer that we can just keep adding, adding, adding,” said Superintendent Swartz. “We really do have to be mindful. If we want to do something new or different, is there something else we are going to reduce or eliminate to get there?”

The first draft of the budget is the carry-forward budget of the current fiscal year into the next fiscal year. The total carry-forward budget is $65,691,829, an increase of $2,732,247 or 4.34%. This figure reflects what it will cost to maintain current programs and services in the 2024-25 school year. Items that may impact this number include contractual costs, salaries, benefits, BOCES expenditures, utilities and fuel costs. The district’s proposal maintains health and safety programs implemented in 2022-23 that were previously covered by CARES ACT II funds. This includes cyber security, an athletic trainer, two school resource officers, and an Employee Assistance Program. 

The District’s calculated maximum allowable tax levy limit for 2024 – 2025 is 2.86%. The prior year tax cap was 4.33% This means:  

  • The allowable levy increase over the 2023 – 2024 budget is $929,783. 
  • The first draft budget increase of 4.34% would require a tax levy increase of $1,650,982. This would cause the district to be $721,199 over the tax cap. The projected tax rate and tax levy  increase would be 5.08% as we are using the 2023-2024 tax rolls at this time. 
  • Tax rolls are set at the end of May. We currently do not anticipate any significant changes.

Ballot Measures

In addition to the 2024-25 budget, voters will also be asked to decide on three other propositions. 

  1. A $12.5M building proposition – with no increase to 2024-25 tax levy due to the debt falling off, new building aid funds, and a debt service reserve the district set aside. This capital project was presented at the January 22 Board of Education meeting. It proposes safety and other necessary upgrades to our buildings throughout our six schools.

  2. The anticipated purchase of three new buses in the amount of $329,000 – with no increase to 2024-25 tax levy. Going forward, the new debt would be offset by the payoff of old debt.

  3. An electric bus proposal – with no increase to 2024-25 tax levy – contingent on receipt of state or federal funding to offset purchase.

Board of Education Candidacy and Public Budget Hearing

There are two open seats on the Board of Education. Each seat carries three-year terms and are unpaid positions. The deadline to turn in petitions for candidacy is Monday, April 22 with a drawing for ballot positions the next day. 

On Wednesday May 8, the district will conduct a Meet the Candidates night for the Board of Education seats and an open public hearing on the budget proposal.

Ability to vote by mail or in person

District residents can vote in person on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the High School B-wing Gymnasium. 

Absentee ballot voting is available. In addition, the new Early Mail Voter Act, effective January 1, 2024, allows for early voting via mail without any reasons needed for voting early. You must fill out an application to vote by early voting or absentee ballot. There are separate applications for voting by early voting or absentee ballot, but the application process and deadlines are the same for both.

Resources to stay informed 

In the coming weeks, we will keep you updated on our website as the district continues to refine the proposed spending plan. You can also follow the discussions, watch the BOE meetings, and read through agenda documents on the BUDGET & TAXES and BOARD OF ELECTION tabs on the district’s website. Be sure to look for the district’s annual budget newsletter in your mailbox after the public hearing in May.