Qualified voters of the Schuylerville Central School District will vote on a $38.4 million proposed budget for the 2023-24 school year on May 16 from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the District Office Board of Education room. The $38.4 million proposed budget calls for a 0.63% spending decrease and an estimated tax levy increase of 1.98%. State aid projections provide the ability to keep the district’s tax levy below the allowable tax cap of 4.30%. Tax rates for individual properties will be determined over the summer once equalization rates and assessments are available for the district’s seven towns.
The district’s five-year spending plan exemplifies a continued effort to remain fiscally conservative for the taxpayers while maintaining academic programming and staffing. This year, voters will notice a decrease in spending for the 2023-24 budget and a tax levy increase. There are a lot of contributing factors that resulted in this budgeting scenario:
- Teacher and educational aide salaries that were typically part of the district’s annual budget are now in Title 1 and IDEA grants, which are continuous, yearly grants. This movement in budgeting will not affect staffing.
- The district moved from carrying Alternate PPO health insurance to HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement.) The annual cost of the HRA is a significant savings for the district’s annual budget, therefore also contributing to the decrease in budget expenditures.
- A decrease in special education expenditures related to off-campus, programmatic services that are no longer needed.
- The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) rules that a district cannot carry more than a four percent fund balance, otherwise face a penalty in an audit finding.
- A focus on discontinuing balancing the budget with fund balance supplementation.
“The budget decrease and tax levy increase will be a one-year anomaly as we bridge the gap from the 2022-23 to the 2023-24,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Christine Burke. “This is a method for the school district to improve fiscal management and reestablish a healthy budget that will carry year-to-year.”
Mental Health Prioritization
As a continued prioritization of mental health services, Schuylerville CSD will retain a school psychologist position that was originally funded by the American Rescue Plan ESSER-2 grant. Funding for this position would have expired in September, 2023, but the district has allocated for it to remain as part of the 2023-24 proposed budget.
“The reality is that despite the expiration of the federal grant, the mental health needs of our students remain,” said Schuylerville CSD Board of Education President Michael Bodnar. “The Board of Education is committed to prioritizing mental health services to address the needs of our students.”
“Our goal as a school district is to provide for our students not only academically, but also socially and emotionally,” added Superintendent Gregg Barthelmas. “Mental health services are one of the district’s priorities, as we continue to strive to support and care for our students and place a targeted focus on promoting the health and wellness of every student in Schuylerville.”
Board of Education election
On May 16, voters will elect three members to the Schuylerville CSD Board of Education:
- Two, five-year terms beginning July 1, 2023
- The seats are currently held by Robert Thivierge and James Burkett
- One, one-year term beginning May 17, 2023 through June 30, 2024
- The unexpired seat of Jessica Schwerd
Click here for 2023 Board of Education candidate profiles.
A public hearing on the proposed 2023-24 budget will be held May 2 at 3:30 p.m. in the District Office Board of Education room.