The William Floyd School District is asking residents to pay an additional 1.73 percent in taxes for the next school year, compared to the 3.74 allowed before breaching the tax cap. The full budget calls for $246 million in expenses, up about 6 million from last year.
The district also received good news earlier this month, as the state budget passed in Albany gave Floyd about $666,000 more in aid than Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal. Since budgeting was based on his proposal, $400,000 of the money was used to improve technology around the district, with the rest distributed to other programs. Officials said state aid increased a total of about 2.4 million compared to last year. The final budget proposal actually cut more from the tax levy, as a 1.99 percent increase was on the table earlier in the process. The tax increase amounts to an average yearly increase of $104.52 per household. To get the exact number a household will be expected to pay, there is a tax calculator active on the district website.
“The board is cognizant of going out for what we need, not just the maximum of what we could get,” said board of education president Robert Vecchio at the budget adoption meeting on Tuesday.
If the budget passes in the May 21 vote, several additions will be included in the 2019-20 school year, including the restoration of the nine-period day at both middle schools, and an increase in educational time district-wide. Each school would start and end at a new time to accommodate these programs and the transportation needed to serve all 9,000 students. A $1.8 million increase in transportation costs was included in the budget.
As previously reported, other proposed additions include two classroom infrastructures for the William Floyd Learning Center, with two teachers and teaching assistants, for a total of $353,800. Officials said the additional cost from the learning center actually comes to a net savings, after cutting costs from what would have been a program outsourced to BOCES. The district is also proposing $716,000 in technology upgrades, including additional privacy and virus protections and updated software and hardware.
If the budget doesn’t pass, the board has the option to either submit the same budget again, or make revisions. If they choose neither, they can pass a contingency budget, which would be a zero percent increase in the tax levy. Officials said state law dictates what can and can’t be cut from a contingency budget. This would mean $1.7 million in costs would need to be cut. Explained in the proposal was that equipment purchases would essentially be wiped out from the budget, which would still leave almost $804,000 to be cut. The next programs that would be threatened are clubs, arts, athletic programs, extra transportation, use of facilities, and others. Officials said the least impactful programs would be cut first.
Vecchio encouraged residents to come out and vote on May 21, since only about 1700 of the district’s 45,000 eligible voters showed up last year. The annual budget hearing is at the next meeting on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.