Vote on finances and four seats scheduled for May 16
By Jeff Simms
The Beacon school board on April 17 approved a $68.6 million budget for 2017-18 that uses nearly $1 million in increased state funding to hire three elementary and two special education teachers and a Human Resource Director. Beacon residents will vote on the proposal on May 16.
In addition, voters will fill the four seats on the nine-person Board of Education now held by President Anthony White, Vice President Kenya Gadsden, Kristan Flynn and Craig Wolf. Petitions are not due until April 26; White has filed his while the other three say they plan to run.
New York lawmakers approved the state budget on April 9, increasing education spending by 4.4 percent. For Beacon, that translated as $27.7 million in state money. The remainder of revenue comes from $37.2 million in property taxes, $2.5 million of savings and miscellaneous sources of $950,000.
Beacon and many districts still feel stymied by the state tax cap, which restricts how much each district can raise its tax levy. The percentage changes each year, based on various factors, and for Beacon, the allowable levy for 2017-18 is 1.54 percent, more than double last year’s.
That’s good news in the short term, said White, who praised state legislators for allowing Beacon to hire more teachers, but in the long term, he said he’d prefer a predictable funding pattern. “That way the districts could plan accordingly,” he said. “Now it’s a guessing game each year.”
Voters will also decide on May 16 on a proposal by the district to spend $410,691 to purchase two 72-passenger buses, a bus that can accommodate wheelchairs and a 20-passenger van.
2017-18 State Aid to Public Schools
The amount of money given by the state to each district is calculated in large part on the relative wealth of its residents. Line items include educating students with disabilities, technology, transportation, building maintenance and funding to BOCES, which provides districts with support services. Funds are also provided for “high tax aid,” which is sent to districts where the property taxes are high relative to income.
Haldane Garrison Beacon Students 833 221 2,866 Tentative budget $23.5 million $10.6 million $68.6 million Total state aid $2.94 million $881,867 $28.1 million Increase $171,855 (6%) $12,678 (1.5%) $867,806 (3%) Foundation aid $1.6 million $524,162 $18.5 million Pre-K programs 0 0 $373,181 BOCES $253,035 $62,230 $831,579 Disability $120,522 $2,166 $1.4 million Technology $67,419 $25,508 $283,520 Transportation $216,323 $43,096 $2.1 million Buildings $491,254 $104,480 $4.6 million High tax aid $194,828 $120,225 0