Mr. Antonio Santana
It’s hard to imagine that we are literally in the final stretch and quickly approaching the end of the school year. As such, May is a month full of exciting events and learning experiences for our learning community. From concerts and art shows to AP Exams and field trips - we are continually looking to highlight and celebrate student talent and provide opportunities for our students to grow and flourish.
In April, the Board of Trustees adopted our proposed budget at a tax levy of 2.75%. Ultimately the goal was to propose a budget that meets the demands of the school district in terms of operating costs; ensures the school district is in a good financial position to address unforeseen costs; has an appropriate fund balance to mitigate future challenges; and ensures that our larger community is considered when proposing the final tax levy. Through careful analysis and consultation with multiple resources, the budgetary process yielded $5,457,978 in increases and $7,364,958 in decreases, culminating in an overall proposed budget that was reduced by $1,906,980 compared to the current year’s budget.
Reductions are generally based on multiple factors, including a three year analysis, contractual changes, diminishing requests for BOCES contracts, and adjustments which still cover operating costs and allows for contingencies. The increases are generally based on multiple factors, including inflation, increased staffing, a new Mac Lab at the high school, music instruments, Chromebook replacement plan, playground equipment, new scoreboard, field trips, staffing to accommodate a new sixth grade program, new special classes district wide, more course options for secondary students, a Director of Instructional Technology, and a transfer to capital line that will enable the district to engage in ongoing capital improvement projects that will not only improve our facilities, but generate building aid for years to come - all while maintaining our healthy class sizes across the board.
We are also proposing use of our remaining capital reserves to finally address the windows at Verne Critz Elementary School, in addition to proposing the establishment of a new capital reserve that may be used for future projects. Again, capital improvement projects garner building aid aside from improving our facilities. These projects are budget neutral and do not have an effect on the tax levy since they involve funds that simply require a public vote to be utilized.
During the month and up until the budget vote on May 16, we will be presenting the proposed budget to our learning community, including visits to civic organizations, our Community Resource Network, the Boys and Girls Club, and our PTA. This all culminates again in our budget vote on Tuesday, May 16. So please come out and vote!
These are exciting times! There are a lot of great things continuing to happen in South Country! Credit to our entire staff, community, and Board for working towards the betterment of our learning community. I am really optimistic about the prospect of a strong ending to his school year and a successful budget vote.
As always, there is lots to be proud of and it really is a great pleasure serving this community as your superintendent of schools! Best wishes for a great weekend!
Superintendent of Schools
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