Superintendent presents carry-forward budget for the 2022-23 school year; BOE to decide on overriding tax cap on February 28

Superintendent Susan Swartz on Monday night (February 14) presented a carry-forward budget that totals $61.36 million for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of $2.23 million over the current year’s budget of $59.12 million. a 3.78% increase.

However, $397,000 of that figure includes funding from the federal CARES Act II. Without the CARES Act funding, the year-to-year spending increase would be $1.74 million or 3%.

After all revenue increases are accounted for, the preliminary plan shows a budget shortfall of $1.08 million. “That is the amount we would need to reduce the carry-forward budget by to reach the allowable tax levy limit,” she said. The eight-step state tax levy formula will allow S-G to increase taxes by a maximum of 1.27% in the coming school year.

Concerns about the budget shortfall

Some board members were concerned about the amount of the shortfall. Swartz asked them to decide at the next Board of Education meeting, on February 28, if they want to “override” that tax levy cap figure since the school district has to inform the state on March 1 if it plans to override the tax levy cap (the board could change its mind after this date, however). Overriding the tax levy cap would require approval of at least 60% of voters on May 17, the date of the community budget vote (7 a.m. to 9 p.m in the high school B-wing gym).

Here is Swartz’s presentation to the Board of Education.

The carry-forward budget includes all current programs that are in effect and all current staffing. It also accounts for the salary savings from the four retirements that have been approved by the Board of Education.

Rising costs and revenues

With the tax cap for Scotia-Glenville calculated at 1.27% for the coming year, which generates a revenue increase of $393,021, and accounting for a $541,463 increase in state aid, the budget shortfall at this time is $1.08 million.

The budget also shows an increase in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS – the amount paid by businesses who are receiving a tax incentive to open) of $65,664 to $1.45 million.

Andrew Giaquinto, school business administrator, pointed out that health care costs, which did not increase at all last year, are projected to rise by 5% in the coming school year.

He also pointed out that the school district hired four teachers, four teaching assistants, a School Resource Officer and an athletic trainer out of the federal Cares Act II.

Foundation Aid will increase by 3%, adding $424,000 to school district revenue. He pointed out that other school districts are receiving a much bigger boost but S-G has been close to fully funding on Foundation Aid.

He also noted that salaries will account for $27.55 million of the budget, a 5.4% increase over the current year. That reflects contract settlements with labor unions, include the teachers and teaching assistants.

Instructional budget spending will increase by $1.70 million to a total of $33.29 million in the coming year. Salary increases accounted for $1.28 million of that amount (77%) while new out-of-district special education  placements added $315,000 due to five new placements entering from pre-kindergarten and five in-district placements moving to out-of-district placements.

Employee benefits will increase from the current $14.44 million to $15.28 million, an increase of $839,923.

Strategic plan

Swartz also reviewed progress on the district’s strategic goals:

  • Instruction: The district’s instructional program enables our students to
    meet the New York State standards and prepares them for life in the 21st
  • Personnel: All district staff has access to meaningful staff development
    and the supports to implement new learning in their positions.
  • Operations: The district’s procedures and routine activities support a
    positive learning environment that is efficient, effective, and responsive to
    our fiscal environment.
  • Facilities: The district’s facilities plan includes a timeline for addressing
    maintenance needs and refurbishment of facilities to support a safe and
    healthy learning environment for students and staff.