Board of Education receives budget update; projected tax levy increase dropped to 0.13

Thanks to a boost in state aid, the Board of Education heard last night that the projected tax increase for the $59.1 million budget proposal will be at the state’s maximum tax levy cap for S-G of 0.13%.

That figure is lower than the 2.02% tax levy increase the board had been considering when board members adopted a budget on March 29. At this lower tax increase level, there is not a need for a 60% approval by the community on May 18.

At the 0.13% levy level, a home with a typical assessment of $160,000 would see an approximate annual tax increase of $4.94 or 41 cents per month.

Business Administrator Andrew Giaquinto said the school district can expect to receive an additional $589,234 in state aid in the 2021-22 school year, including a $391,866 increase in state Foundation Aid.

The state Legislature has pledged to increase Foundation Aid to the level called for in the state formula over the next three years. They have not been fully funded by the state since the 2007-08 school year. S-G was already receiving 95% of the full formula reimbursement, which is why the school district’s increase in Foundation Aid is less than at other school districts.

But the increase in state aid this year was sufficient to eliminate the shortfall in the budget that would have led to the 2.02% tax increase.

The $2.5 million in federal stimulus funding was not factored into this school budget. That money must be spent by June 2024. The federal government has not yet released the ways in which that money must be spent. It is designed to help school districts bridge shortfalls over the next few years.

The community decides on May 18

On May 18 (unless the date is changed as happened last year), the S-G community will consider these proposals through in-person or absentee balloting

  • 2021-22 school budget with a projected tax increase of 0.13 – less than $5 per year for a home assessed at $160,000;
  • $493,000 bus purchase proposal for four, 72-passenger buses;
  • $12.8 million capital project for roofs, furnaces, lead water line remediation and public address systems at all six schools; and
  • Select two Board of Education members. The terms of current Board of Education members David Massaro and Hal Talbot expire this year.