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Hudson Valley Valley School District (WVSD) superintendent, Dr. David Leach, and assistant superintendent for business, Tim Holt, recently presented the sixth and final version of the WVSD proposed budget at the board’s last monthly meeting, which seeks $90,116,888 for school year 2017-18 – an increase of $1,914,252 (2.17%) from the current year’s budget of $88,202,636.
The top three school budget items are:
- Staff salaries: $43,373,889, an increase of $652,595
- Benefits: $20,562,743, an increase of $977,419
- BOCES: $12,955,077, an increase of $535,431
- A $8,163 decrease in revenue from non-tax sources, from $3,197,102 to $3,188,939
- An additional $350,000 in appropriated fund balance/reserves, from $1.4 million to $1.75 million
- A decrease of nearly $85,000 in the library bond tax levy, from $509,245 down to $424,650
- A half million-dollar increase in state aid, from the current $25,125,763, to $25,646,633
- More than $1 million in savings due to the retirement of 10 teacher
Among other budget highlights:
- WVSD has further reduced costs by reducing the number of bus routes from 68 to 65, saving $112,351 (2.7%), supposedly without lengthening routes to unreasonable times
- No increase in this year’s technology budget
- New classes added to the curriculum in the Fall: Civil Architecture and Engineering, Biomedical – capstone, and College Language II
- Addition of a video production teaching position
- Revision of the 2016-17 school calendar, adding Friday, May 26, 2017 as an additional day off for students and staff, making the Memorial Day holiday a four-day weekend
WVSD has dedicated $300,000 of its reserves to State Retirement Reserves and $25,000 each to Workers Compensation and the Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve. These various reserves help fund employer retirement contributions, fund medical costs for staff injured on the job, and pay employees’ accrued benefits upon termination, vacation, retirement, or during illness, respectively.
Leach and Holt unveiled a chart outlining the history of tax levy increases in the district since the 2000-01 school year, where the increase peaked at approximately 18%. Increases between 2001-02 through 2004-05 ran between 9% – 13%, while a negative tax levy existed for the 2007-08 school year. Since then, the levy climbed around 4% until 2014-15, when it decreased approximately 2%, where it remained the following year. The tax levy increase was 0% for the current school year.
The budget for the current school year had the highest approval rate among the public in more than 16 years (74%). Approximately 66% of the annual school budget is funded by taxes, with state aid at 28%, 3.6% from non-tax sources (such as tuition), appropriated fund balance (just under 2%), and the library bond tax of 0.47%. Revenue from non-tax sources increased 21% to approximately $2.6 million, school tax had a 0% increase, and New York State aid increased 8.43%. One of the larger costs in the budget is staff health insurance ($9.5 million out of the current year’s $88.2 million budget – an increase of 4.8% over the previous year).
On Tuesday, May 16th, voters will also have the opportunity to approve propositions to purchase new school buses, establish two capital reserve funds and elect three school board members. The next public hearing on the budget will be on Monday, May 8th at 7:00 PM at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.
WVSD also recently held a special presentation for parents, guardians and community members on entitled “Drugs: Things You Should Know”, led by State Police Trooper Craig Vedder, the School and Community Outreach Coordinator for Troop F. The presentation was the first in a series of presentations hosted by WVSD, in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing Orange County.