Board of Education adopts 2024-25 proposed $120,342,342 school budget; budget vote/Board of Education election is Tuesday, May 21

school budget clip artThe Minisink Valley Board of Education unanimously adopted a proposed $120,342,342 budget for the 2024-25 school year at its April 18 meeting.

This proposed budget includes a 2.31% tax levy increase. The district is utilizing money from other district funds to reduce the tax burden on homeowners and businesses. By utilizing funds transferred from the capital and debt service funds, the district is able to keep the tax cap at a low percentage.

The proposed 2.31% increase in the tax levy – total amount of money to be raised through property taxes – is within the New York State tax cap requirement.  The proposed budget needs a simple majority to be approved.

The proposed budget preserves all current academic, co-curricular/athletic opportunities for all students.  Everything which is in place for this current school year will be maintained in the 2024-25 school year.

The proposed budget will also reinstate what was cut out of this current budget: A summer school program for high school and middle school students and the 5 p.m. bus run for students staying on campus for late day co-curricular and athletic programs.

This year’s proposed budget also includes the purchasing of 15 new school buses: 10, 72-passenger buses; three, 42-passenger wheelchair buses and two, 30-passenger wheelchair buses. The cost of these buses is $2,914,749. After estimated total state aid is applied, the net cost is $728,687.

This year, due to the increase in State Foundation Aid, the district has the ability to purchase the buses needed outright through appropriations in the general fund budget. This makes it less costly to district taxpayers by purchasing buses in this manner because there are no financing costs when the buses are purchased outright.

“This proposed budget was developed after months of work and reflects the prudent and very respectful use of taxpayer dollars,” said Superintendent Brian Monahan. “The increases in the proposed budget, over last year’s approved budget, are tied to contractual obligations, debt service — which are costs associated with capital improvement projects to our facilities, and mandated services to special education students along with budgeted contingency funds for unexpected emergency costs for the next school year.”

Superintendent Monahan added: “The district is very fortunate to receive an increase in State Foundation Aid, which allows us to incorporate the proposed bus purchases into this budget. This means we can buy them outright and not have to finance them, which saves taxpayers a very significant amount of money. In past years, because we were financing these purchases, we needed separate public approval via a separate proposition. A reliable and safe transportation fleet is critical to district operations and for our students’ safety. A replacement schedule for older buses, which are simply becoming too costly to repair and maintain, is essential.”

Over the last three months, detailed work to formulate the budget took place and this work was presented at five public Board of Education meetings. Each meeting was recorded and archived on the district’s website and Facebook page, allowing anyone who couldn’t attend these meetings to view them afterward. They remain easily accessible to view on the district’s website and Facebook page.  Additionally, detailed information on the creation of the 2024-25 school budget is easily accessed on the district’s website.

Voters will cast ballots on Tuesday, May 21 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at two polling locations, depending on their polling district:  The Intermediate School Gym A on the district’s Route 6 campus or Otisville Elementary School Library.

The annual budget newsletter will be mailed to all residents in early May.

The district’s budget hearing will be held on Thursday, May 9 at 6 p.m. at the Middle School auditorium.

The deadline for interested persons to submit petitions for their Board of Education candidacy is Monday, April 22 by 5 p.m. A drawing to determine the order of the candidates’ names on the ballot will take place in the Central Administration office on Tuesday, April 23 at 9 a.m.  An announcement of candidates will follow.