Proposal limits tax increase, preserves programs

Proposal limits tax increase, preserves programs
Posted on 05/12/2022
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Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD is proposing a $44,905,477 budget for the 2022-23 school year that maintains all existing programs and limits the impacts of inflation on taxpayers.
The proposed budget goes before voters on May 17.


HOW TO VOTE


To vote in person: Qualified, registered voters residing in the district can cast ballots at C-R High School between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. 


To vote by absentee ballot: Residents also can request an absentee ballot by contacting the district office at 518-234-4032, ext. 2000, to arrange for an in-person pick-up. Anyone voting via absentee ballot must have their ballot received by the district office before 5 p.m. on May 17. 


BUDGET PRIORITIES


The district prioritized three goals when crafting the budget proposal.


Priority 1: Maintain quality programming for students


The proposed budget maintains all co- and extracurricular activities as well as all staff positions. Maintaining a rigorous curriculum and expansive menu of programming options for students continues to be C-R’s top budgetary priority. 


Priority 2: Minimize the impact on taxpayers.


Inflation has caused a 4.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index over the past year. Just as this high level of inflation is driving up prices for households, it is also impacting schools’ budgets.   


In fact, the budget proposal reflects an anticipated 4.09 percent increase in expenditures. Notably, fuel and healthcare costs have risen sharply.


However, the district has built a budget that does not burden taxpayers with the full weight of those increased expenses. The proposed tax levy increase is only 1.74 percent, which falls under the state’s “tax cap” calculation. 


Priority 3: Strategically allocate fund balance.


The budget makes use of approximately $2 million in “fund balance.” Essentially, this is similar to withdrawing money from a savings account to pay for expenses. 


State regulations stipulate that a school district’s unassigned fund balance (in other words, the amount of money in savings) should not exceed 4 percent of the annual operating budget. 


Therefore, using excess fund balance this year serves two purposes: It helps avoid a higher tax increase, and it allows C-R to comply with state regulations.


WHAT ELSE IS ON THE BALLOT?


In addition to the school budget vote, residents will vote on four other propositions:


- A proposal to transfer $4 million from unassigned fund balance to the capital reserve fund.

- The election of two Board of Education Trustees. Board candidates were introduced during the district’s “Meet the Candidates” program, a recording of which can be found here: Meet the Candidates

- A budget proposal for the Community Library.

- The election of three Library Board trustees.

 More information about all of the ballot propositions can be found in the Budget newsletter that was mailed to the household of every registered voter in the district: Newsletter.