Beacon Schools Expect More Aid

Could receive additional $650K from state

Based on preliminary numbers, the Beacon school district is slated for an increase in state aid for its 2022-23 budget, officials said on Monday (Jan. 24). 

The district could receive as much as $650,000 more than last year’s $30.7 million allocation, Deputy Superintendent Ann Marie Quartironi told the school board. Most of the increase is expected to be unrestricted, rather than aid that repays the district for transportation, equipment and other specific expenses, she said. (The unrestricted allocation in 2020-21 was about $600,000 higher than in 2019-20.)

Quartironi noted that the district’s “tax-base growth factor,” which accounts for the addition of new households, is the second-highest in Dutchess County. That would allow the board to raise the tax levy by an estimated $1.5 million and still remain under a state mandated tax cap on annual spending increases, she said. 

Superintendent Matt Landahl said that while the 2021-22 budget was drafted in an effort to maintain programs and staff during the pandemic, the projected numbers for 2022-23 show that the district should be able to grow and work toward goals established by the school board.  

The district also plans to create a capital reserve fund in the 2022-23 budget, which will need to be approved by voters on May 17. 

Landahl said that voters should not expect to be presented with any sizeable capital projects for five years following the approval in October of $26 million in spending for improvements at all six district schools. Creating a reserve fund would allow the district to address smaller maintenance projects without borrowing money during the interim, he said. 

Voters will be asked to approve the creation of the fund and an initial deposit, likely around $2 million, much of which will come from federal American Rescue Plan money, Quartironi said. The plan would be to build the reserves to as much as $10 million. The district would need voter approval to spend any of the money. 

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