East Greenbush Central School District presented its preliminary school budget for 2016-17 at last week’s public Budget Review Session in Citizen Genet Elementary School’s auditorium. The preliminary budget is $90,362,210, an increase of $2,180,881 or 2.47%.
The preliminary budget maintains all current programs and services, but because of limited state funding, would require a proposed tax levy increase of 7.15%. The District is hoping for additional state aid through the legislative process, reducing the tax levy increase to at or below the tax cap.
The current tax levy threshold is set at 4.45%, so the District would need a supermajority of 60% to approve the budget as it stands. The District has averaged a 0.24% tax levy increase over the last five years, including a 1.0% decrease in 2015.
“We encourage parents, residents and staff to provide feedback during this process so we can develop a budget that works for our school and community,” said Superintendent Dr. Angela Nagle.
The preliminary budget is impacted by a 5.76% decrease in state funding for next school year, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget. The District’s state funding is dropping from nearly $29 million to $27.3 million.
The District is slated to receive $571,701 in Gap Elimination Adjustment restoration, according to Cuomo’s budget, leaving $1,231,680 still owed. District officials and elected representatives from the Assembly and State Senate have advocated for the full restoration of the GEA, which would decrease the tax levy increase to approximately 4.71% before other adjustments.
The state budget, which is being negotiated by Cuomo and the legislature, is due March 31 before the new fiscal year.
In addition to the District’s school budget, voters will decide on two school bus propositions and three seats for the Board of Education.