With an eye on possible mid-year cuts to state aid, Schoharie CSD is proposing a $24.8 million budget for the 2020-21 school year. The fiscal plan would include a 1.81 percent increase to the tax levy, which is below the district’s state-mandated tax-levy limit of 6.1 percent.
The budget’s objective is to sustain operations and programming not just for this year, but into the future, while remaining sensitive to the concerns of property owners, according to Superintendent David Blanchard.
“This is all predicated on the governor talking about serious state aid cuts to school districts,” Blanchard said, adding that those predictions from the governor ranged from between 10 and 50 percent.
The budget is already $639,281 less than a draft budget in late winter, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and represents a budget change of less than 1 percent over the current year’s fiscal plan.
Under the proposed budget that will be voted on by district residents, Schoharie CSD is anticipating an 8.5 percent reduction in revenue. The fiscal plan includes the elimination of 10 teaching and staff positions, mostly through not replacing vacancies and retirees. However, some positions will be subject to layoffs, field trips would be cut and some JV sports would be eliminated.
Blanchard said there remains a possibility a federal bailout could alleviate the revenue concerns as the next fiscal year gets underway.
“The revenue side is certainly a concern, as it remains unknown,” he said. “We’re in unprecedented times with regard to the pandemic, and it’s a very uncertain time. I think the board, the administration and the teachers are hoping for a much better outcome than presented by the governor.”
If the budget, which requires a simple majority vote to pass, is defeated by voters, the district could opt for a contingent budget, or hold a re-vote at a later date. A contingent budget would require trimming an additional $80,000 from the fiscal plan.
All voting is by absentee ballot this year as directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ballots will be mailed to all district residents on file with the district as registered voters. Please call 518-295-6679 if you do not receive an absentee ballot.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for 7 p.m., Thursday, May 28. The public hearing will be broadcast live on Webex and may be viewed via smartphone, computer or tablet. Audio-only is available via the dial in number.
Login information is below:
The event number: 478 197 414
The dial in number to listen to audio is 415-655-0001.
The access code: 478 197 414
The password: Welcome
Public comments on the proposed budget will be taken via email and provided to the Board of Education by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, public comments will also be taken during the course of the meeting via the same email address.
All public comments, including those provided during the meeting, will be included in the official record of the meeting.