District spending would grow by 5 percent
The Haldane superintendent is proposing a $27.2 million budget for the 2022-2023 school year, a jump of 4.81 percent over this year. It includes a 3.69 percent property tax rate increase, just below a state-mandated cap of 3.7 percent.
The district would use the additional funds to maintain its student-teacher ratios and invest in academic, arts and athletic programs, said Superintendent Philip Benante.
“We have some of the most competitive class sizes in the region and this budget maintains that,” he said.
The school board has scheduled a vote for April 19 and a public hearing for May 3. The budget and two trustee seats will be on the ballot on May 17. There are more details at haldaneschool.org.
Benante highlighted several key investments in his budget:
- An expanded Artist-in-Residence Program for elementary students that will cost $30,000. He said that the district would bring in five or six people to work with students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
- A review of the district’s special education programs that would cost $25,000. The programs serve 12 percent of the student population, he said.
- Literacy and intervention training for teachers that would cost $30,000. The program had been curtailed during the pandemic because teachers were focused on maintaining safe learning environments, he said.
- Hiring 11 assistant coaches — for varsity basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, softball, baseball, cross-country and football — at a cost of $40,000.
- Spending $20,000 on master scheduling and planning, which will maximize teaching time, Benante said.