Vote will be via absentee ballot only; three candidates running for two board seats
Pine Bush Central School District residents will vote on a $121,587,157 million budget on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, an increase of 2.37 percent from the current budget.
The tax levy for this budget – the amount raised by taxes – would increase by 2.58 percent, staying under New York state’s tax levy limit by one full percentage point. That tax levy amount is $61,604,219, an increase of $1,549,269.
This proposed budget includes $58,009,438 in state aid, an increase of $1,782,080 or 3.17 percent from the current school year. This budget does not use any unappropriated fund balance.
Our best position
“With the amount of uncertainty surrounding the state and federal government in terms of aid, we feel this budget puts us in the best position to maintain programs and continue to provide a quality education to our students, while being mindful of the needs of our community,” Superintendent Tim Mains said.
The board of education adopted the 2020-2021 budget at its meeting on May 12. The budget is under the state tax cap by one percent and is based on the aid amount in the state’s adopted budget. York state is planning to revisit its established aid totals before the end of the calendar year. One look-back was completed April 30; the two remaining will be done June 30 and Dec. 31. However, Mains noted that federal aid during this COVID-19 pandemic should offset possible reductions in state aid.
A clearer picture
Adopting the 2020-2021 school budget based on the original amount of state aid allows the district to maintain the staff and programs for which it had originally planned for the school year. As Superintendent Mains explained, the district can make cuts to its budget at any time, should aid totals change. If the state comes back at the end of June with a reduction in aid that is not offset by federal aid, the board of education can make cuts to the approved budget. However, if the board preemptively cuts programs and reduces its budget, it cannot add funding back into the budget once it has been approved by voters.
“Once voters approve a budget, we cannot increase it if we receive additional aid,” said Mains. “If we’re going to have to make cuts, we believe it is smartest to wait until summer after the second assessment is made by the state. The federal funding could wipe away or significantly reduce any state cuts in aid. We are trying to put ourselves in the best position possible. To cut now would be imprudent.”
What to expect in 2020-2021
The adopted budget for 2020-2021:
- Maintains the strong educational standards of Pine Bush
- Maintains current class sizes
- Defers expansion of foreign language in middle schools
- Reduces out of district special education costs by expanding in-district offerings
- Begins formal funding of the district’s strategic plan
- Minimizes property tax impact based on current economic conditions by proposing a budget that is a full percent under the allowable New York State tax cap
A new ABLE class (Actively Building Language Environment) will be created at Circleville Elementary School that will bring up to six Pine Bush students back to their home district instead of being educated at BOCES. This will provide a significant savings to the district but also a better instructional program for the students.
ABLE is a program supporting students with minimal or no verbal abilities who are typically of average ability but unable to achieve their potential due to their communication deficits. Students may also have sensory deficits, behavioral needs, daily living skills deficits and could be on the autism spectrum.
The process of creating this budget is rooted in the goals set out by the district and the board of education, which include providing students with innovative educational strategies to prepare them to become contributing members in an ever-changing world.
We will maintain the strong educational standards currently in the Pine Bush District and stay intentionally below our legal financial constraints.
The majority of the proposed budget, 78.55 percent, is allocated to support programs that directly benefit students. Another 10.89 percent goes toward the district’s capital component while 10.56 percent supports the district’s administrative functions.
Savings through retirements
The district has 12 teacher retirements this year. Budget savings are generated when the district is able to replace veteran teachers, who are at the top of the salary schedule, with new staff members who earn less.
Two retiring instructional positions, one elementary teacher and one secondary special education teacher, would be eliminated in this budget, and those two vacancies will not be filled.
Three candidates for board of education
There are three candidates running for two seats on the board of education. The terms of office are for three years. The candidates are Tasha Butler, Kristi Kheiralla and Cara Robertson.
Read more about the candidates here.
Vote via absentee ballot
This year has been an uncommon one with many challenges for all because of the spread of the coronavirus. With schools and most public buildings closed and large gatherings not allowed, the state has determined that this budget vote and school board election will be done via all absentee ballots. Ballots must be received at the district office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9.
If anyone has any questions about the budget or voting via absentee, contact the district office at (845) 744-2031, ext. 4023.