On Tuesday, May 21, residents of the Central Valley School District will go to the polls to vote on the district’s proposed $51,949,184 budget for the 2019-20 school year. The proposal would increase spending 9.37 percent or $4,449,184 from the current year. This would result in no tax levy increase. The proposed levy is less than the district’s tax levy limit and will require a simple majority for approval.
Almost 75 percent or $3 million of the budget increase is due to increased bond payments for the district’s capital project. State building aid will pay in full for that increase beginning in 2019-20. More than $1 million is due to additional BOCES educational services. The remainder is increases in salaries, benefits, and transportation as anticipated.
“We know our costs will rise each year, so it would make sense to raise the tax levy incrementally each year,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rich.
“But under the tax cap formula, any increase would have cost taxpayers their property tax rebate checks—that was unacceptable. As a result our levy remains unchanged for the second straight year.”
Staying the course
“This budget maintains the curriculum and student opportunities promised in the merger, while protecting our local taxpayers,” said Business Administrator James Humphrey.
“We made it a point to keep our levy below the limit and ensure taxpayers will again receive their state rebate checks.”
He warned, however, that he will not promise no tax levy increases in the future.
“We have been careful to plot a course that keeps Central Valley on firm financial footing into the future,” he said.
“We leveraged our merger incentive aid to help soften the need for future increases, but it’s unreasonable to think we can provide for our students’ education without help from the community.”
The merger aid is disappearing at a rate of $440,000 per year and will be gone in 2028-29. District officials have used merger aid to pay for aidable, one-time expenses such as capital improvements and equipment. The state reimburses the district over time, meaning the district extends that repayment into the future. Steps such as this have kept the tax levy 1.73 percent lower than it was in 2012-13, before the merger.