2022-23 proposed budget Q&As

Check this page frequently for updates.  Have a question? Please submit it to budgetquestions@minisink.com


Q.  Are teaching positions being reduced for AIS and special education?

No. There are no planned reductions in teaching staff in AIS or special education.  Some teaching positions are funded through grants and some through a mix of grants and general fund appropriations.  There are no reductions in special education or AIS teachers in the proposed 2022-23 budget.

Q.  Didn’t the district receive COVID-19 relief funds?  Why can’t that be used to keep our taxes lower?

Yes. Like other districts, Minisink Valley is receiving money from federal grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, those grant funds are not permitted to be used to offset the cost of the general fund operating budget of the district.  The grants have specific requirements as to how the money can be used. But in all cases, the law states the funds cannot be used to replace normal operating expenses.

Q.  What is the district doing with the federal COVID-19 grant money it has received.

Last summer, the district posted on its website all required information regarding the plans to use the COVID-19 grant funds.  Click here to read the details:   https://www.minisink.com/departments/business-office/arpa-spending-plan/

Q.  I saw a Spectrum News story that stated the tax cap was set at 2%, but the district is stating their proposed tax levy increase of 3.89% is tax cap compliant.  Can you explain this discrepancy?

The Spectrum News story was somewhat misleading.  The actual tax cap calculation can be found here:  https://www.osc.state.ny.us/files/local-government/property-tax-cap/pdf/formula_0.pdf

There are two “growth factors” in the tax cap calculation formula.  The first is the tax base growth factor and the second is the allowable levy growth factor.  It is the allowable levy growth factor that is capped at 2%.  The allowable levy growth factor is the lesser of 1.02 (2% cap) or the rate of inflation (calculated as the % change in CPI for the 12 month period ending 6 months before the start of the coming fiscal year over the prior 12 month period).  The comptroller’s office published 4.7% as the percent change in CPI for this period of time, but the district can only use the 2% capped factor in the tax cap calculation.

Q.  What would the tax levy increase be if the allowable levy growth factor was not capped at 2%?

If the district were to use the actual percentage increase in CPI, as per the comptroller’s defined time period, the factor would be 4.7% instead of the capped 2% ( https://www.osc.state.ny.us/files/local-government/property-tax-cap/pdf/inflation-and-allowable-levy-growth-factors.pdf ).  If 4.7% were used in the tax cap calculation the allowable levy increase would have been 6.59%.  But, the comptroller’s defined time period is 6 to 18 months in the past.  If we were to use the current rate of inflation (the actual cost increases the district will see in 2022-23, along with everyone else) of 7.5% the allowable tax levy increase would be 9.40%.  This is the truest estimation of the increased costs facing the district today.  However, based on current law, the district’s maximum tax levy increase is 4.20%, and the district is transferring money from the capital and/or debt service funds in order to reduce the levy increase to the proposed 3.89%.

Q.  Can you explain the 1:1 Chromebook initiative and how that is impacting the increase in the budget?

The district has utilized grant opportunities to fund the purchase of the majority of the Chromebooks currently in use by our students.  The district is working toward every student in the district having access to a school-issued Chromebook.  The Chromebooks will have a five-year replacement cycle, meaning our goal is to eventually be purchasing one-fifth of the needed chromebooks every year.

Grant funding for these ongoing purchases is not guaranteed, so in order to provide stability to the initiative we are looking to increase our technology budget over the next three years to get it to the point where Chromebook purchases are supported from the general fund rather than the district counting on grants being available to fund these purchases in the future.