On Tuesday, May 21, Goshen Central School District residents will vote on a $73,249,777 proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year.
The proposed budget, which carries a spending increase of $1,910,225 or 2.68%, will result in a tax levy increase of 3.2% – which is below the district’s legal limit as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation.
Residents will also vote to authorize the purchase of seven school buses, establish a new Capital Reserve Fund, and elect two members to the Board of Education.
What is behind the increase in spending?
A number of factors are affecting the budget for next year, including costs
associated with school security, new 21st century academic offerings and capital projects at the high school, and growth within the district’s special education and non-English speaking student populations.
“Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment where our students feel academically challenged and inspired to succeed,” said Superintendent Daniel Connor. “Additions to the proposed budget are driven by our students’ needs – while remaining below the tax levy cap.”
What about state aid?
The New York state budget provides Goshen an increase of approximately 1.79% in state aid for next year for a total of $16,769,364. Although slight, the state aid increase and prudent financial planning have allowed Goshen to preserve its educational programs and personnel for next year, while
enhancing its 21st century learning offerings and accommodating the educational needs of all students.
“We feel fortunate to propose a budget that will help ensure that each student succeeds academically,” Connor said. “We are fulfilling our responsibility to create the next generation of college and career
ready students and enable them with the critical thinking skills needed to thrive in today’s world.”
Besides the proposed budget, what else is on the ballot?
In addition to the proposed budget, district residents will be asked to vote on the following on Tuesday, May 21.
Purchase seven school buses
District residents will vote to authorize the purchase of seven school buses: two 64-66 passenger or larger buses with storage capacity at a maximum
estimated cost of $113,000 each; three 64-66 passenger or larger school buses at a maximum estimated cost of $111,000 each; one 30-passenger or larger school bus at a maximum estimated cost of $55,000; and one wheelchair van at a maximum estimated cost of $69,000; for an aggregate maximum cost of $683,000.
Replacing some school buses annually allows the Transportation Department to maintain student safety while controlling maintenance and
repair costs on older buses. The new buses will replace older vehicles that have become expensive to repair.
If approved, approximately 60 percent of the $683,000 proposition would be covered by state aid. The cost to local taxpayers would be bonded over five years, with the first payment due during the 2020-21 school year – the
first year that the district will begin receiving state aid reimbursement. There will be no effect on the 2019-20 tax levy.
Establish a Capital Reserve Fund
District residents will be asked to authorize the creation of a capital reserve fund to offset the cost of future renovation and construction projects, to be known as the District Construction, Reconstruction and Renovation of Facilities Capital Reserve Fund 2019. If approved, the capital reserve fund will be established for a 10 year term and can hold a maximum of $5 million.
The fund will have a zero balance at its inception. Money may be acquired from end-of-year budget surplus funds as well as any interest accrued over the fund’s 10 year term. Please note that the district is not asking voters to
immediately place $5 million into this reserve – it is only asking for voters to authorize the creation of the reserve fund.
What about the capital reserve fund created in 2011?
In May 2011, district residents approved the creation of a capital reserve
fund, also with a 10 year term, when it was listed as a proposition on the 2011-12 school year budget vote. The fund had a zero balance at its inception and money was acquired from end-of-year surplus and accrued interest.
Money from this original capital reserve fund was used to pay for a $4.6 million capital improvement project in January 2014, and approximately $9
million from the fund was used to offset the cost of the capital improvement project currently under construction at the high school – both with voter
approval. Last May, district residents approved expending approximately $3,976,000 from the fund to cover additional costs necessary to complete
the capital improvement project – leaving a minimal amount of end-of-year surplus funds that can be used for future renovations with voter approval.
If approved, the new capital reserve fund will allow the district to place money aside to help cover or alleviate the cost of future capital projects,
identified in its building condition surveys conducted every five years, as required by New York State Education law. A separate vote at a later time would still be needed to approve any capital project proposals and withdraw
money from the fund.
“Creating a capital reserve fund allows the district to proactively plan for future renovations and repairs to our buildings,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Louise M. Lynch. “Our goal is to ensure the upkeep of our facilities while alleviating the impact on taxpayers’ wallets as
much as possible.”
Elect two members to the Board of Education
District residents will elect two members to the Board of Education for three-year terms to fill the seats of Board members Jeremy Cassel and Michael Lorenzo, whose terms expire at the end of the school year.
The candidates who receive the most votes will be appointed to these positions and will be sworn in at the organizational Board meeting in July. Their terms will commence on July 1, 2019 and will expire on June 30, 2022.
The candidates are (listed in ballot order):
- Jacob Gardner
- Michael Lorenzo
- Jeremy Cassel
Be sure to check your mailbox for a special budget publication that will be mailed to district residents within the next several days. Check the budget web page for more information.