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Draft budget leaves district with $1.12M gap

Feb. 25, 2016

As numbers begin to finalize in the district’s working 2016-17 budget, Schalmont Central School District is looking at a $1.12 million budget gap.

With employee retirement contribution numbers, the Consumer Price Index, and local pilot programs locked in, the district will be submitting a maximum tax levy limit of 0.68 percent, or $187,400 to the State Comptroller's Office. This amount represents the most the district can increase the property tax levy without needing a supermajority to pass the district's budget on the May 17 vote.

Currently, under the Executive Budget, the district is slated to receive a slight increase of $2,000 in foundation aid from the state, while conversely losing nearly $500,000 in aid due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA).

"When the lack of state aid is paired with increases in contractual obligations and unfunded state and federal mandates, it creates a wider budget gap than we as a district have faced in the past," Schalmont Business Administrator Joseph Lenz said.

Generally, schools receive revenue from two sources: state aid and property tax. With Schalmont receiving an overall decrease in state aid for 2016-17 and facing a levy increase limit of less than one percent, district officials must address the expense side in order to balance the budget.

"When such a large gap is topped off with a property tax increase limit, it really leaves us no other option than to consider difficult reductions and eliminations across the board, including student instruction," Superintended Dr. Carol Pallas said

District officials are hoping that, as has been the case in the past, the district will see an increase in aid, along with a complete restoration of the GEA when the legislators adopt the final state budget.

"Any increase in aid or reduction to the GEA will help bridge our budget gap, but it will not be enough to eliminate it," Lenz said.

The deadline for adopting the state budget is April 1.

The annual school district budget vote will be held Tuesday, May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9p.m. in the High School New Gym Lobby.

View PDF of Board Presentation