The superintendent’s proposed budget for 2021-2022 that was presented at last Monday night’s Valley Central School District Board of Education meeting featured a 2.66 percent increase over the current school year.
As it stands now, the proposed tax levy increase from this year to next year’s budget is 2.86 percent. Next year’s budget is currently $111,310,000, which is an increase of nearly $3 million from 2020-2021.
The largest portion of the budget (59 percent) is funded by the tax levy. State aid makes up 32 percent while fund balance, reserves and other income combine for nine percent.
The proposed budget was broken into three parts: the capital, administrative and program components. $9,754,420 is currently budgeted for next year’s capital component, which is an increase of approximately $80,000 from this year. Next year’s administrative component is projected to be $9,274,767, up roughly $300,000 from the current year. The program component makes up the majority of the superintendent’s budget, as $92,280,813 is allocated to that line. This figure is up approximately $250,000 from this year. Across the board, the supplies fund was decreased roughly seven percent to balance the budget.
An interfund transfer of $390,000 was allocated to the capital fund line of the capital component budget. This was done to fund roof repairs to Walden Elementary School (WES). As of right now the district is slated to save about $400,000 in interest. Slightly more money is budgeted for building, grounds and maintenance employee salaries and benefits.
Regarding the administrative component, an additional $10,000 is expected to be budgeted for business office salaries. John Xanthis, Superintendent of Schools, is slated to earn about $8,000 more next year, bringing his salary up to $256,234. The budget for his office workers’ salaries is also expected to increase by about $7,000. In addition, there is scheduled to be a slight uptick in the funding for employee benefits.
In the program component of next year’s budget, regular instructional salaries are expected to decrease by $278,070 due to several positions being eliminated through attrition. The budget for student assistant counselor salaries is down approximately $122,000, as the district plans to remove one of these roles from WES.
“Right now in these tough budget times when we’re not seeing any increase in state aid, we do have to make some sacrifices and this is a position that we can eliminate due to attrition,” said Brad Conklin, the district’s school business official.
The ballot for the budget vote will also include a second proposition regarding renovation and reconstruction of Valley Central High School and Valley Central Middle School facilities. The proposition calls for Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility upgrades, replacement of natatorium dehumidification systems as well as reconstruction of parking lots, sidewalks, curbing, lighting and other site work at a total estimated maximum cost not to exceed $13,630,000. In addition, the district would withdraw and expend $125,000 from their existing 2019 capital reserve fund to pay a portion of said costs and raise the rest of the money via property taxes.
The third proposition can only pass if the second one does. This motion calls for the construction of restroom facilities next to the high school, which would be used for athletic and other events. The total estimated maximum cost would not exceed $656,812, with $200,000 coming from the district’s 2019 capital reserve fund and the remaining sum being generated through property taxes.
On the same ballot there are two board of education seats open for election. Each is for a three-year term commencing July 1, 2021 and expiring June 30, 2024. Nominating petitions are available by contacting the District Clerk Ellen McGoldrick (email@example.com). The petitions are due April 19.
Moving forward, the board of education will adopt the 2021-2022 budget on April 19. A budget hearing will be held on May 10 and the vote will take place May 18.
Conklin noted that the district has done a good job developing a budget given the difficult circumstances brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve done our best to balance our regular increases that we see every year versus essentially frozen state aid at this point. Based on the governor’s budget this is our second year in a row we’ve seen almost a zero state aid increase,” he said. “We’ve done the best that we can and we’re anxiously awaiting what comes out of the state when they approve the state budget sometime around April 1.”