Voters approve 2021-22 school budget

Residents of Schoharie CSD approved a $25.5 million budget for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, May 18 by vote of 296 to 84

The budget, which will guide the district’s finances when the next fiscal year begins July 1, 2021, includes a 1.99 percent decrease in the tax levy.

“Thank you to all who voted tonight. The budget aligns with the Board’s objective to ‘Sustain the fiscal capacity of the school district to equitably provide for the programs and services for students, not only for next year, but for years well into the future,’” said Superintendent David Blanchard.

The budget has 2.92 percent more in overall appropriations from the current year. Because of the way the tax levy limit is calculated regarding exclusions for building aid, there is an overall decrease in the levy, which meets the state’s limit for the district.

Major cost changes from the current fiscal year are projected to be $117,969 in employee and retiree health insurance and prescriptions, and $459,133 in contractual salary increases. There is also a $100,000 capital outlay funding request intended to help with facilities improvements. Funding is included for enhanced summer programming to help students academically after pandemic-related disruptions. Decreases are made in the area of instructional supplies and equipment. The budget is balanced by increases in state aid.

District voters also elected two new members to the Board of Education for three-year, unpaid terms. Candidates included Lynda Lewandowski and Lance Hellstrom. They ran unopposed. 

A proposition to purchase four school buses to replace aging buses at an estimated cost of $332,000 also passed by a vote of 283 to 98. Funds for this purchase will come from reserves and have no impact on the tax levy. A proposition to establish a Capital Reserve Fund was passed by a vote of 285 to 94. It will have a limit of $2.5 million over a five-year term and be supported solely through fund balance surplus each fiscal year. Its purpose would be to finance renovations of the district’s facilities, as well as purchase furnishings, equipment and machinery as needed. This also would have no impact on the tax levy.

The Schoharie Free Library Association also sought $10,000 more than the current levy for public library support. This levy is separate from the school district’s budget and was approved by a vote of 295 to 87.