Newburgh school board considers 3.8% tax hike

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 4/17/24

A reduction in staff and a $9 million budget gap are the lowlights of the 2024-25 budget presented to the Newburgh Board of Education last week.

The proposed budget, along with the library …

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Newburgh school board considers 3.8% tax hike


A reduction in staff and a $9 million budget gap are the lowlights of the 2024-25 budget presented to the Newburgh Board of Education last week.

The proposed budget, along with the library budget is expected to be finalized by the board no later than Friday, April 19.

At the meeting last Tuesday night, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jackielyn Manning Campbell presented the district budget first, alongside Assistant Superintendent of Finance Kimberly Rohring. After review, for Fiscal Year 2025, the district proposes a tax levy increase of 3.8 percent ($4.2 million).

Further discussing the tax levy, breakdowns of tax bills and estimated difference figures for homes assessed in the district were presented, but are preliminary at this time, according to Rohring. The district is awaiting final assessed value figures for each municipality and final equalization rates from the Office of Real Property Services in Albany.

Projected revenue for 2025 was reported at $358.2 million. Local revenue was reported at $122.7 million, state revenue at $224.3 million, federal revenue at $270,000 and appropriated one-time use funds at $10.9 million.

A letter sent from Superintendent Manning Campbell on Wednesday, March 20 made the public aware that the district is facing a $9.03 million gap for Fiscal Year 2025. In order to make up that shortfall, it appears that the use of one-time funds (appropriated fund balance and restricted reserves) in the amount of $10.9 million would go toward assisting in reducing the projected gap. No response was received by the district to confirm the purpose and usage of these funds.

The Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli defines Appropriated Fund Balance as “the amount of fund balance (assigned, restricted or unassigned) that management desires to legally authorize as a financing source to help fund specific expenditures.” FasterCapital defines restricted reserves as a reserve that “is set aside for a specific purpose and cannot be used for anything else.”

The district reports that for 2024-2025, the district would see a reduction of 102 full-time employees from the district’s total of 1,801. The 102 majority of the decrease was noted as due to retirement/attrition and vacancies. The district also reported 78 positions funded through the American Rescue funds, but funds were not planned to continue after Fiscal Year 2024.

“With our complex district, we are reducing very minimal positions and our layoffs will be minimal at most,” said Manning Campbell. “I believe we are at approximately 12 across all of our bargaining units. We have approximately 2,000 folks on our staff and we are reducing by 12 positions in total.”

“We met with every school principal, we looked at the staffing requirements, we looked at everyone’s allocation in terms of teachers, we looked at the programs and we wanted to ensure that we were supplying students with the resources that they needed,” she continued. “That was how we were able to reduce our staffing by those numbers.”

The largest bargaining unit, the Newburgh Teachers Association (NTA), has a reported 1108 full-time employees. For 2024-2025, the district reported a reduction of 66 positions to the NTA. However, no notes were provided in the presentation about this specific reduction, and no response was received to confirm the number of teachers associated with retirement/attrition and vacancies.

The proposed library budget was presented by Newburgh Free Library Director Ben Gocker. The proposed budget was $6.18 million, with a proposed library tax levy of $5.89 million. A prepared library tax levy history chart showed board members and officials that the library would have the same tax levy of 2.81% going into Fiscal Year 2025.

Conferences in Las Vegas, Atlanta
At the April 9 meeting, Manning Campbell addressed comments made about several agenda items from the March 19 meeting. Item 11.1 on the March 19 agenda was for the approval of previously budgeted conference requests that came into question. Several of these conferences would be taken over the course of the next few months. The resolution lists 21 individuals, a mix of teachers, administrators and district staff, who would be attending conferences.

The Innovative Schools Summit Conference, which would be held in Las Vegas from July 7 to 12, came into question. Five individuals would be traveling, each at a cost not to exceed $4,000.

One teacher will be traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend the “College Board AP CSP (Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles) Reading” at no cost to the district. Five individuals will be attending the conference, “Learning and the Brain – Future Ready Brains” in New York City in April at a cost not to exceed $2,600 for each attendant.

Seven individuals would be attending the “National Community Schools & Family Engagement Conference” in Atlanta, Georgia in May at a cost not to exceed $2,500 for each attendant. Finally, three individuals would attend the “School Transformation Office (STO) Redesign” in Albany in April at a cost not to exceed $500 for each attendant.

Dr. Manning Campbell also addressed an item authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to execute a previously budgeted purchase with Apple Inc. for the 23-24 school year in the amount not to exceed $65,272 for the purchase of 160 iPads, as well as Apple Care Support and protective cases.

“The purchase of 160 iPads as well as Apple Care Support and protective cases will replace test kits that cost approximately $150,000 annually. The purchase of the iPads was approved not to exceed approximately $65,000 and will not be an annual cost,” said Manning Campbell. “By investing in iPads the district intends to move to computer-based testing rather than paper and pencil which will save the district significant money over time.”

During the school budget presentation on Tuesday, April 9, Rohring also addressed previous comments made about the district and its financial management. Under the District Financial Management section, Rohring explained that each New York State school district, including Newburgh, is required to undergo an independent external audit annually. Audit reports dating back to 2018 can be found online The district has been issued clean audits each of those years.

A request for proposal was sent out in 2023 for a new External Auditor that would increase the testing sample size welcoming additional scrutiny of the district’s books. This would also add, Rohring said, “a new lens with which district finances would be reviewed.”

The NECSD is also subject to an annual Internal Audit Risk Assessment. This assessment evaluates the processes and procedures in several areas, not just finance. These areas include Facilities and Maintenance, Data Management, Finance, Cyber Security, Information Systems, Pupil Personnel Services, Safety and Security.

Rohring also explained that before any claim for payment can be processed by the Finance Office, the Board of Education’s independent claims auditor must review all associated documentation for each claim and approve the payment. She continued that if the claims auditor does not approve the payment, then payment is not processed. Reports are submitted to the board from the claims auditor monthly.

A public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

The vote on the budgets, along with the board of education candidates, will be held from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. at Meadow Hill School. The public also has the opportunity to share questions, comments or feedback by emailing on the budget and other district matters at or