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Voters to decide on $91,855,061 proposed budget 5/21

Proposed spending plan maintains programs and operations, remains below tax levy limit

On Tuesday, May 21, the residents of the Goshen Central School District will vote on a proposed $91,855,061 budget for the 2024-25 school year.

If approved, the proposed spending plan would result in a 2 percent tax levy increase for next year – far below the district’s legal limit of 5.5 percent as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation – while enabling the district to increase expenditures by 3.07 percent, or $2,735,914.

Because the tax levy increase remains below the district’s legal limit, a simple majority of voters (50 percent + 1) is needed to pass the budget.

In addition to the proposed spending plan, residents will vote to elect three members to the Board of Education (see pg. 6 for details).

Preserving competitive curriculum offerings

The proposed 2024-25 spending plan maintains Goshen’s robust academic, extracurricular and athletic programs, including those added in recent years to boost Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) offerings. Funding these programs enables the district to incorporate the most up-to-date research and innovations into its programming.

“The district is focused on growing and sustaining its rich programs while respecting Goshen taxpayers with minimal tax levy increases,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kurtis Kotes. “We take pride in our academics and extra-curriculars. and maintaining their viability is key to continuing to bring these competitive offerings to our students.”

Programs such as Math in Focus, Project Lead the Way, and the social-emotional Choose Love curriculum remain a priority. To ensure continued success, funding will also provide the professional development, training and summer curriculum work associated with these programs.

In addition, the spending plan includes reserves for additional STEAM courses to address growing student interest and needs – especially since the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM occupations will increase 10 percent by 2032.

“Providing rich opportunities and generating interest in these subjects early on can lead students to utilize the STEAM lab when they arrive at Goshen High School in new, innovative ways,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, Personnel and Technology Jason Carter.

“We want to prepare our students for a future where limitless opportunities in this field may be available.”

This priority aligns with the district’s 21st century learning initiative to instill core competencies like digital literacy, creativity and problem solving. Providing an environment that encourages lifelong learning and a sound education for all children is also part of the district’s mission statement and strategic plan.

In addition to academics, the proposed budget accounts for rising contractual costs including salaries, benefits, retirement contributions and BOCES services. It also supports maintaining facilities operations and school safety measures, including School Resource Officers (SROs) and Atlas Security staff.

What’s new for 2024-25?

New proposed expenditures for the 2024-25 school year include the addition of three 1.0 full time equivalent (FTE) positions to accommodate student need:

  • 1 Scotchtown Avenue Elementary School (SAS) Special Education Teacher,
  • 1 C.J. Hooker Middle School (CJH) Life Skills Teacher, and
  • 1 SAS Special Education Teacher Assistant.

The district will keep its contracted Behaviorist position as well due to the positive responses coming out of schools. This position was added in 2022-23 with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding as a pre-referral intervention strategy to special education services. The position will be absorbed into the general budget next year now that the grant has expired.

Balancing the budget

In addition to state aid and the local tax levy, approximately $1.2 million in appropriated fund balance will be used to help balance the budget.

Additionally, the planned transfer to capital reserves – about $1.5 million – was removed from the proposed spending plan for next year. Capital reserves are generally included to provide funding for unplanned future expenses not outlined in the budget.

The proposed spending plan also reflects savings from a 73 percent equipment expenditure decrease – from $1.1 million in 2023-24 to $305,000 for next year.

The large savings in equipment is due to the removal of bus purchases from the general fund − a decision made after a recent transportation audit determined the district has an adequate number of vehicles to support its routes and does not need to include bus purchases in the proposed spending plan.

“Through careful planning, the district’s budget proposal prioritizes our mission statement and the tenets of 21st century learning,” said Dr. Kotes. “We are confidently making strides toward our strategic planning goals with a well-designed K-12 curriculum that helps each student succeed academically and achieve a strong sense of personal wellness.”

More information on the proposed budget can be found on the district website at www.gcsny.org.

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