VOORHEESVILLE— School district officials released the first draft of a proposed 2018-19 budget that calculates total expenses at $24.8 million. However, even after increasing the tax levy by 2 percent, which is below the allowable calculated rate of 2.78 percent, the district would still fall $206,000 short of covering those expenses under its preliminary budget.
While $134,600 of the expected deficit could conceivably be made up by going to the maximum allowable tax levy, district officials are hoping that the final version of the state’s 2019 budget, which the state Legislature is expected to pass by April, will include additional funding that would make the additional increase to the tax levy unnecessary.
Officials suggested several possible ways to cut the district’s 2018-19 budget during the presentation. One option is to eliminate one full-time secretary position in the business office and one full-time teaching assistant position for a total savings of $97,000. Another $109,000 could be saved by eliminating a full-time computer instructor and a part-time middle/high school dean position though attribution, and another $58,000 by eliminating a Distance Learning service, which would cause students to lose access to certain electives. Altogether, the identified cuts would save the district exactly $206,000.
Of several potential budget additions,the district feels a new part-time special education teacher is needed to help provide mandated services at a cost of $11,000 a year. Providing Chromebooks to students in grades five and seven, as well as additional social studies, math, business and technology instruction are also on the VCSD short list for budget additions, amounting to a total of $171,000 in potential additions to budgeted expenditures.
According to the district, the budget will be a discussion topic at each board meeting from February through Tuesday, April 23. The state Legislature is expected to pass its final budget by Thursday, April 1, at which time final state aid figures will be clearer.
A special budget meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 9, prior to the Board of Education finalizing and adopting the proposed budget, which is anticipated to take place at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 10. District voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 15 to accept or reject the measure.