BUDGET VOTE & BOARD ELECTIONS ARE TUESDAY, MAY 18: Proposed budget will not increase tax levy for 2021-22

On May 18, Goshen Central School District residents will vote on a $78,811,376 proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed plan calls for a $2,727,539 or 3.58% increase in spending over the current year’s budget. If approved, it would result in a zero percent tax levy increase in the coming year.

Because the tax levy remains below the district’s legal limit of 2.11% as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation, a simple majority of voters
(50% + 1) is needed to pass the budget.

The budget maintains all existing staffing and services and includes funding that will reinstate the 5 p.m. bus run that was eliminated this year due to budget constraints. In addition, the proposed budget will add a full-time position in the instructional technology department in order to help address the district’s ever growing technology needs. This position is
currently a part time contractual position.

According to Superintendent of Schools Daniel Connor, careful financial planning and an efficient use of state aid and federal stimulus money is
allowing the district to avoid raising next year’s tax levy.

“I’m proud to present our school community with a budget proposal that has a zero percent increase in the tax levy, especially in the wake of the
COVID-19 pandemic and the hardships it has caused,” he said.

Although faced with a number of financial challenges due to the COVID-19
pandemic, the district was able to compensate for these unanticipated costs by allocating funds from within the operating budget. Because of remote
learning and other operational restrictions, some district programs, activities and events were underutilized or cancelled, resulting in surplus money.

The district is also slated to receive an approximately 12.4% increase in
state aid for next year, largely due to additional Foundation Aid — the primary source of general purpose operating aid for schools, typically
distributed based on need.

In addition to the state aid increase, the district will receive two one-time federal coronavirus relief packages approved by Congress: the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. Goshen will receive $2,796,328. It’s important to note that this one-time federal aid will help the district in the near-term, but it’s unknown how the district will be financially affected once the aid expires.

According to the Governor’s office, 20% of the federal funding, or $559,266, can be used over the next four years to address learning loss,
academic remediation and students’ social and emotional needs due to the
disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The district is required to
share how it will utilize this aid, as well as the additional foundation aid,
on its website by July 1, 2021. More information will be provided to our
school community as it unfolds.

“For the past year, our students, families and community have been challenged in ways we could never have imagined,” said Connor. “As
educators, it is our responsibility to provide an educational environment
that challenges and nurtures our students. Although difficult amidst
the constraints of the pandemic, we hope that our community is comforted
knowing that this federal funding will help us in our effort to address
students’ educational and social-emotional needs.”

DISTRICT RESIDENTS TO VOTE ON ADDITIONAL PROPOSITIONS FOR 2021-22

Purchase eight school buses

District residents will vote to authorize the purchase of eight school buses: four 30-passenger buses at a maximum estimated cost of $61,000; three 66-passenger buses at a maximum estimated cost of $114,000; and one
7-passenger bus for $66,000 for an aggregate maximum cost of $652,000.
If approved, approximately 60% of the $652,000 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 2022-23 school year – the first year that the district will begin receiving state aid reimbursement. There
will be no effect on the 2021-22 tax levy.

Elect three members to the Board of Education District residents will elect
three members to the Board of Education for three-year terms to fill the seats of Board members Martha Bogart, Judy Green and Jason Pucci, whose
terms expire at the end of the school year.

The candidates who receive the most votes will be appointed to these positions. Their terms will commence on July 1, 2021 and expire on June 30, 2024.

The candidates are (in ballot order):

  • Jason Pucci
  • Shannon Johnson
  • Judy Green
  • Martha Bogart
  • Joe Connell
  • Billy Castellane