Proposed budget maintains programs, district to receive 0.02 percent increase in state aid
On Tuesday, May 15, Goshen Central School District residents will vote on a
$71,339,552 proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year.
The proposed budget, which carries a spending increase of $1,606,356 or 2.3 percent, will result in a tax levy increase of 1.68 percent – an increase that meets the district’s legal limit as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation.
What is behind the increase in spending?
Although the district will not add programs or personnel, rising contractual costs related to employee salaries and benefits are the main reason behind the budget-to-budget increase for next year.
It takes many people to create and maintain an efficient and productive learning environment for nearly 3,000 children in four schools. Each year,
approximately 75 percent of the district’s budget goes to salaries and benefits.
Salaries and benefits are part of contractual agreements between the district and employees. Collective bargaining units negotiate contracts
for salaries and benefits, although the increase in benefits for next year is largely due to retirement contributions.
New York school district employees (outside of New York City) belong to one of two public pension systems: The New York State Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the New York State Employee Retirement System (ERS). TRS and ERS are mostly funded by investment income, and New York is one of only a handful of states that has a fully funded pension system.
New York teachers and employees are required to participate in ERS and TRS, and school districts are required to participate in its contributions.
What about state aid?
The New York state budget provides Goshen only a slight increase of approximately $3,425 in state aid for next year – or 0.02 percent – for a total of $15,545,456. This is the district’s smallest year-to-year state aid increase since the 2011-12 school year, when it saw a reduction of more than $1.2 million in state aid.
However, prudent financial planning has allowed the district to balance its budget without cutting programs or personnel, using additional fund balance or exceeding the tax levy cap.
“Even when state aid is insufficient, it is our responsibility to provide an
academic program that ensures our students are college- and career-ready,” said Superintendent Daniel Connor.
What else will I be asked to vote on?
District voters will be asked to vote on three additional propositions on May 15:
- Purchase eight school buses at an aggregate maximum cost of $656,248
- Expend $3.9 million from the Capital Reserve Fund
- Elect three members to the Board of Education
What happens if the budget is defeated?
If the budget is defeated, the Board has three options: present the same budget for another vote; submit a revised budget for a vote; or adopt a contingent budget. If the budget is defeated twice, the board must adopt a
contingent budget, by law.
Under the tax levy cap law, if a district adopts a contingent budget, it cannot increase its tax levy from that of the prior year by any amount – a zero percent increase.
For Goshen, a contingent budget will cut approximately $840,433 from the proposed budget. The district would be subject to various limits and controls on how the money within the contingent budget is spent, and would have to charge fees for public use of school buildings and grounds.
More details about the proposed budget will be mailed as an eight-page budget newsletter to all district residents. Be sure to check your mailbox!