Both propose budgets that match state tax cap

The Haldane and Garrison school districts have each proposed budgets for 2024-25 that match their state-mandated tax caps.

If the districts had chosen to override the caps, as happened in Garrison in 2022, at least 60 percent of voters would need to approve. The tax cap calculated for each district in the state varies each year based on multiple factors.

At a meeting of the Haldane school board on Tuesday (March 5), Superintendent Philip Benante proposed $29.2 million in spending, representing a 2.8 percent tax increase. The draft budget includes funding for:

  • A second English as a New Language (ENL) teacher: $100,000
  • Converting a part-time psychologist to full-time, giving the district two full-time positions: $77,000
  • A third school counselor: $100,000
  • Increased funding for professional development around literacy for elementary school teachers: $5,000
  • Professional development conferences for teachers: $15,000
  • Updated phonics resources: $20,000
  • Special education funding to expand services: $50,000

It also cuts funding for an elementary teaching position, saving $100,000. Benante said the district could have 17 classes instead of 18 in 2024-25 and remain within its class-size guidelines, which are 18 to 20 students for grades K-2 and 20 to 22 for grades 3-5.

Tax capsUnder the state budget proposal from Gov. Kathy Hochul, the district expects to receive $2.9 million in Foundation Aid, an increase of 5.63 percent, and total state aid of $4.5 million. It also will collect $22.7 million in property taxes.

In addition to the budget, the May 21 ballot will include two spending measures. The first would allow the district to borrow $275,000 to buy a 65-passenger school bus, a 16-passenger school bus with a lift and a zero-turn mower, while the second would permit it to spend $815,000 from reserve funds to replace the artificial turf on the athletic field and the fence around the softball field.

The school board scheduled a hearing on the proposed budget for March 19, a board vote on April 23 and a second public hearing on May 7.

The board seats held by John Hedlund and Maggie Valentine will also be on the ballot in May.

Garrison

The Garrison School administration on Feb. 28 proposed a $13.3 million budget, representing a 4.44 percent tax increase. It includes funding for:

  • Gym roof replacement: $250,000
  • Gym floor refinishing: $55,000
  • Gym sound-system upgrade: $30,000
  • New school sign: $30,000
  • Artwork installation for bare walls: $20,000
  • New field trip budget: $25,000
  • Annual climate summit: $10,000
  • Biodigester for environmental education: $15,000.

Under the governor’s proposed budget, Garrison would lose $234,000 in Foundation Aid because of a change to the formula used to determine how much each district receives, according to the presentation. If unchanged by the Legislature, that would represent a 40 percent reduction from 2023-24. The district’s tax levy for 2024-25 is expected to raise $11.2 million. 

The school board said it will host a series of meetings before the May vote to provide more details.

The ballot in May will also include measures asking voters to allow the district to enter into multi-year contracts with Haldane and O’Neill to send students there for high school, and three board seats now held by Courtney McCarthy, David Gelber and Jennifer Harriton-Wilson.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Joey Asher is a freelance writer and former reporter for The Journal News.

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