On Tuesday, May 18, residents of the Central Valley School District will go to the polls to vote on the district’s proposed $51,074,162 budget for the 2021-22 school year. The proposal would increase spending 1.18 percent or $597,830 from the current year. This would result in a tax levy increase of 1.45 percent or $125,000. The proposed levy is less than the district’s tax levy limit and will require a simple majority for approval.
First levy increase in three years
“When we merged seven years ago, we promised to give students educational opportunities and to protect our taxpayers,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Rich.
“We kept that promise. Students have access to more classes and activities. We have extremely robust technology to support learning. We carefully managed the merger aid and adjusted staffing to match our needs and held average levy increases to less than one percent per year.”
District Business Administrator James Humphrey said the levy increase is the first since 2018-19.
“We worked to keep the tax levy unchanged for the last three years,” Mr. Humphrey said.
“Normal inflation plus increases in salaries, benefits, and anticipated special education costs have pushed us to ask for this 1.45 percent increase.”
New—Ilion Public Library Proposition
For the first time, voters will consider an Ilion Free Public Library proposition. By law, the proposition must appear on the ballot.
Mr. Rich worries that voters will confuse the library request with the school vote.
“The library funding request has nothing to do with the school budget,” he said.
“Central Valley has no control over the library or its budget. It is completely separate of the school and we ask that voters consider the proposition separately. Don’t let how you feel about the library or the school influence how you vote on the other.”
Establishing a Capital Reserve Fund
Voters will also consider a proposition that would allow Central Valley to establish a $5-million Capital Reserve Fund. The district would move funds into the dedicated fund that could only be used for a capital project such as a major improvement or repair.
“Essentially, we would create a savings account to maintain our facilities,” said Mr. Humphrey.
“Just like in our homes, roofs wear out, driveways need fixing, etc. We want future boards of education and administrators to have the funds they need, even after the merger aid fades away. This would enable them to complete necessary upkeep without having to raise taxes to get it done.”
Budget Hearing on May 11
Residents can learn more at the Central Valley Board of Education’s annual Budget Hearing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11.
Key numbers – 2020-21 budget
- Total spending—$51,074,162; up 1.18 percent percent or $597,830 compared to the current year
- Tax levy—$8,725,000; increase of $125,000 or 1.45 percent
- Board of education election—two candidates vying for two seats. Incumbents Marguerite Wesolowski and Jonah Levi will appear on the ballot in that order.
To be eligible to vote, you must be a US citizen, 18 years of age or older a district resident for at least 30 days prior to the vote, and not disqualified by any reason set forth in NYS Election Law §5-106.
Mark your calendar to return absentee ballots by May 18
All ballots must arrive at the district office no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18. You may:
- Drop them off in person or
- Mail them early to arrive by the deadline