Public budget development meeting: Thursday, April 11

Officials of the Minisink Valley School District will hold a 2019-20 budget development session on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m., in the middle school auditorium.

At the meeting, district officials will update the community on the latest state aid projections, budget development and factors contributing to budget challenges for 2019-20.

As always, the budget development process is open to the public and the community is encouraged to attend. Time permitting, community members wishing to comment on the budget process will have up to four minutes each for their remarks.

Budget development process continues

Faced with a challenging financial landscape, district leaders have focused their budget development efforts on reducing the initially projected 11.8 percent tax levy, while preserving student programs.

The work continues, and expense reviews and reductions to date have lowered the projected tax levy to 9.4 percent.

For residents owning a home with a fair market value of $300,000, a 9.4 percent tax levy would result in a $631 tax increase for the year.

Officials continue to look at all options to lower the impact on taxpayers, while remaining true to the district’s educational mission. In addition to previously enacted expense reductions, eligible employees are currently reviewing a retirement incentive that is expected to further reduce the proposed tax levy increase.

Factors affecting the tax levy increase

There are four main factors behind the 2019-20 budget challenges:

A projected state aid decrease of approximately $1,400,000 from the 2018-19 school year.

A negative tax levy cap: under the state’s tax cap formula, the District’s 2019-20 tax levy cap is ‒0.47 percent. This represents a decrease of $208,000 in tax revenues from the previous budget cycle.

Expenses exceeding projected revenues for the past two budget cycles.This was due to revenue shortfalls and unanticipated overages in operation expenses.

Conservative tax levy increases over the past 3 years.

Balancing the budget and long-term financial stability

The district is taking a multi-faceted approach to ensure the long-term fiscal stability of school finances, lessen the impact to taxpayers, and preserve high-quality academic and co-curricular programs:

A reduction of expenses through staff attrition and retirement incentives.

This approach is made possible in part by declining enrollment and staff retirements.  

A reduction in equipment, supplies and contractual services expenses in each department and school.

Tax levy increase.

Utilizing fund balance.

Please join us at our next budget development meeting on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m.

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