On Tuesday, May 16, Goshen Central School District residents will vote on a proposed $89,199,147 budget for the 2023-24 school year.
If approved, the proposed spending plan would result in a 1% tax levy increase for next year – below the district’s legal limit of 2.8% as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation.
Because the tax levy increase (1%) remains below the district’s legal limit, a simple majority of voters (50% + 1) is needed to pass the budget. Although the tax levy will increase by 1%, the proposed budget calls for a $5,419,147 or 6.4% increase in spending over the current year’s budget. The spending increase will be mitigated by an anticipated $4.7 million increase in state aid.
In addition to the state aid increase, an additional $900,000 in appropriated fund balance will be used to help balance the budget – a reduction from the $1.25 million used to balance the budget for the current school year budget. This is a more conservative approach to balancing the budget without depleting the district’s reserves.
If approved, the spending plan will include new faculty and staff positions, enhance safety and security, add a new summer school academy, and purchase four vehicles for the Transportation Department.
Funding from New York’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III), signed into law in 2021 to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs proceeding the COVID-19 pandemic, will add four 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) Academic Intervention Services (AIS) math teachers, four 1.0 FTE AIS English Language Arts teachers, one 1.0 FTE Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor social worker, and a new Summer Math and English Language Arts Academy for students in need of summer enrichment (this will replace the Gladiator Gains program held during the summers of 2021 and 2022).
In addition, the proposed spending plan includes two 1.0 FTE licensed practical nurses (LPN) to provide assistance to the nursing departments district-wide and special education students; four 1.0 FTE attendance aides (civil service) to provide attendance and clerical support in each of the four schools; and will increase the FTE of a high school social studies teaching position from 0.6 to 1.0 to accommodate students wishing to obtain the New York State Education Department Seal of Civic Readiness.
The proposed budget will maintain the employment of six uniformed security guards from Atlas Security Services, who began working alongside the district’s school resource officers last month. New security cameras will be added district-wide, and some existing cameras will be replaced for better visibility. Camera footage is monitored in real-time by the district’s school resource officers, security personnel, and the Village of Goshen Police Department.
Facilities upgrades are also included for next year, including the renovation of two classrooms at C. J. Hooker Middle School and roof repairs at Goshen Intermediate School. Last year, district officials created a line item in the general budget for the sole purpose of funding renovations and repairs throughout the district. This funding – $1 million – is excluded from the tax levy cap and can only be used for facilities work, as long as voters pass the proposed budget.
For the second consecutive year, the proposed spending plan includes the purchase of vehicles for the Transportation Department. This will save the district money by avoiding interest payments instead of bonding the buses over five years.
The new buses include two 66-passenger buses at a maximum estimated cost of $161,703 each; one 30-passenger bus at a maximum estimated cost of $78,594; and one 60-passenger electric bus at a maximum estimated cost of $358,000; for a total estimated cost of $760,000.
New York has mandated that all school district purchases or leases of new vehicles for pupil transportation must be zero-emission by July 1, 2027, and all electric by September 1, 2035.
In addition to the proposed budget, voters will elect three members to the Board of Education to the following terms:
- Two seats are available for three-year terms, commencing July 1, 2023, and expiring June 30, 2026, to fill the seats of Allison Salte, whose term expires at the end of the school year, and Thomas Mullane, who resigned from the Board of Education in October 2022.
- One seat is available for an approximate 12.5 month term, commencing on or about May 16, 2023, and expiring July 30, 2024, to fill the seat of Jason Pucci, who resigned from the Board of Education in March 2023.
The successful candidates will serve the available terms based on the number of votes they receive: the two candidates who received the highest number of votes will serve the three-year terms vacated by Ms. Salte and Mr. Mullane, and the candidate who receives the third highest number of votes will serve the seat vacated by Mr. Pucci.
The person who is elected to Mr. Mullane’s seat will automatically receive the 6+ week unexpired term as a result of his resignation, from on or about May 16, 2023 through June 30, 2023.
The candidates are, in ballot order:
- Suzanne Aleman
- Scot Selbo
- John Sullivan
- Ashley Salte
Please note that Ann Horrego is listed as a candidate in the special budget publication that will be mailed to district residents in early May. She rescinded her candidacy after the publication was printed. Learn more about the Board candidates.