Unadilla Valley CSD will present a $23.4 million proposed budget to voters on Tuesday, May 18.
This year, the budget vote will be held in-person. Any voters concerned about COVID-19 will be able to apply for an absentee ballot. Two seats on the Board of Education will also be up for a vote. A public budget hearing is set for 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 11 in the library-media center.
A tax levy limit, while sometimes referred to as a “2 percent tax cap,” is set by the state and will often be higher or lower than 2 percent based on the individual circumstances of each district. In UV’s case, the district is staying within the tax levy limit, which for the 2021-22 school year is 2.2 percent.
While the proposed budget for next year shows a 5.7 percent increase in expenditures, additional state aid and operational efficiencies are keeping the tax levy increase within the levy limit. Due to the most recent capital project, UV is receiving state aid to offset an increase in debt service, which is reflected in the overall proposed budget increase. State-mandated teacher and employee retirement contributions are accounting for much of the difference in the proposed budget over the current fiscal year. The fiscal plan for next year reduces day-to-day operating costs, while maintaining existing instructional programming. Under the budget proposal, this will largely be accomplished by not filling some recent staff retirements.
“This proposed budget was designed to move Unadilla Valley forward out of the COVID-19 pandemic and renew our focus on academic achievement and social-emotional learning in a fiscally responsible way,” Superintendent Robert Mackey said.
The budget includes three new licensed teaching assistant positions to assist with increased student learning needs caused by the pandemic.
While the budget under development will guide the district through the 2021-22 school year, it was developed using a multi-year approach with the consultation of a financial planning firm that specializes in school budgets. One focus of the district’s long-term financial planning is to prevent large swings in the tax levy limit down the road.
Included in the budget is a $100,000 capital outlay project to fund the continued removal of aging temperature controllers and the installation of more efficient controllers, particularly in the secondary school wing.
A bus proposition that would authorize the lease of four school buses at an annual cost not to exceed $94,000 is also on the ballot. The term of the lease is five years.
New York State Law allows for public libraries to use the occasion of school budget votes to help fund their operations independently from school districts. The New Berlin Public Library has requested a proposition be on the ballot May 18 to increase the library tax by $5,000.
In addition to the budget proposal, voters will also elect two members of the Board of Education. Mark Davis and Carrie Meade will see their current three-year terms expire on June 30. The two are running unopposed.
All absentee ballot applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 11 and returned by 5 p.m. on May 18. Please visit the district website for more budget, voting or absentee ballot information or reach out to District Clerk Valerie Doliver at (607) 847-7500 ext. 1131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.