Residents to decide on proposed $22.58 million budget on May 21

On Tuesday, May 21, residents of the Canajoharie Central School District will go to the polls to vote on the district’s proposed $22.58 million budget for the 2019-20 school year.

The proposed budget represents a 0.89% reduction in spending and proposes a property tax levy increase of 3.5%, which is at the district’s allowable limit as calculated under the state’s “tax cap” formula. A simple majority (50% plus one vote) is needed for approval.

The district reduced four full-time equivalent positions and made cuts across several areas to offset an unanticipated $574,635 budget gap.

Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw said the most significant change over current year spending is a larger-than-expected health insurance cost increase. Health insurance increases over the past five years have averaged 10% per year. The health insurance increase for the 2019-20 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 can be found here. Some examples are:

  • Capital improvements to 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 programs, netting a saving to the district.

A total of 53.64% of the district’s revenue comes from state aid. The remaining 32.65% of revenue mostly comes from 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 tax increase would be $30.78, 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 as many learning opportunities as possible for our
students,” said Grimshaw.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, at Canajoharie High School.