At its April 11 meeting, the Canajoharie Board of Education approved a proposed $22.58 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The proposed spending plan will go before voters on Tuesday, May 21.
The proposed budget represents a 0.89 percent reduction in spending and proposes a property tax levy increase at 3.5 percent, which is the district’s allowable limit as calculated under the state’s “tax cap” formula. A simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) is needed for approval.
Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw said the most significant change over current year spending is an unanticipated larger-than-expected health insurance cost increase. Health insurance increases over the past five years have averaged 10%. The health insurance increase for the 2019-2020 year is 27%. Additions to the proposed budget include only the health insurance increase and contractual obligations, such as salaries and other benefits.
“The district’s goal in putting together the budget was to maintain staff and programs to the greatest degree possible while being mindful of long-term district financial stability. The board, administration and school staff have all contributed to discussions regarding proposed reductions,” said Superintendent Grimshaw.
Grimshaw said the Board of Education Finance Committee reviewed every program and every proposed expenditure. “The reductions in the budget were made with careful thought and consideration,” she said. A complete list of reductions follows. Some examples are:
- The capital improvements at the East Hill Elementary School entrance reduce security staff needs at that school, and the district will eliminate one full-time security monitor position;
- A net of three full-time positions will be reduced because of retirements and redistribution of personnel and job functions;
- The district will also reduce the athletics budget by eliminating golf and cross country Nordic skiing, and restructuring junior varsity football to eliminate scrimmages;
- The district will also reduce expenses related to several BOCES services, including costs associated with HFM BOCES Career and Technical Education program costs., netting a savings to the district;
A total of 61.4 percent of the district’s revenue comes from state aid. The remaining 38.6 percent of revenue is largely property taxes. To help balance the budget, the district will use $770,313 in appropriated fund balance and reserves.
If the budget is approved, the estimated annual tax increase would be $30.78 per year, or $2.56 per month, for a home assessed at $100,000.
“The district will continue to explore every possibility to maximize our use of funds to support the best learning opportunities for our students,” said Grimshaw.
Additional details on the proposed budget will be posted on the district website and shared in the annual budget newsletter, which will be mailed to all residents in early May. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 9, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
Polls will be open from 12 noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at Canajoharie High School.