No tax levy increase in proposed 2016-17 budget

Schuylerville residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 17, to vote on a proposed $34.1 million budget for the 2016-17 school year. Voting will take place from noon to 9 p.m. at the Schuylerville Central School District Administration Building (note: this is a new polling location), located at 14 Spring Street, Schuylerville. Residents will also select one Board of Education member, consider one proposition and vote in the Schuylerville Public Library Board of Trustees election.

Schuylerville’s budget proposal would result in an estimated tax levy increase of zero percent, which is below the district’s state-determined tax levy cap of 0.16 percent. The tax levy is the total dollars that a school district collects from property owners in order to balance its budget after taking into consideration all other sources of income. Tax rates for individual properties will be determined over the summer once equalization rates and assessments are available for the district’s seven towns. In comparing Schuylerville’s 2015-16 budget with the
proposed 2016-17 spending plan, the budget-to-budget increase is 1.29 percent.

“The district consistently puts forth a budget allowing us to maintain fiscal stability,” said Business Manager Marian Chrisman. “We remain committed to the goal of maintaining and improving opportunities for students while being mindful of the impact on taxpayers.”

Increased Personnel

Schuylerville’s budget proposal maintains current programs and services for students and includes funding to increase personnel, including a social studies teacher (0.8 to 1.0 Full-Time Equivalent), a public information specialist/chief information officer (0.6 to 1.0 FTE) and a technology integration specialist (teacher on special assignment) who will assist teachers in the continued growth of the technology department.

”We feel we have delivered a budget that is fair to our taxpayers without jeopardizing our students’ ability to learn and excel in today’s educational world,” said Board of Education President Mike Booth.

GEA Eliminated

The state instituted the Gap Elimination Adjustment in 2010-11 to help address its own budget shortfalls brought on by the fiscal crisis at that
time. Since then, Schuylerville has lost more than $8 million in state aid. The end of the GEA means that state aid will not be reduced in this manner in 2016-17, an effective increase in funding that totals $208,000 for the district.

Energy Efficiency Efforts Adding Up to Significant Savings

Schuylerville is continuing to see significant savings from the many energy efficiency initiatives it has put in place over the past few years. Most recently, the district began installing four new boiler burners with energy efficient controls. The district is also diligently keeping track of its energy management system, ensuring that unoccupied areas in buildings are not heated and cooled, particularly during school breaks and
holidays.

The utility savings from past projects, including the installation of more energy-efficient lighting and motion sensors, as well as the replacement of four hot water heaters, also continue to save the district thousands of dollars each year.

Looking to the Future

“At Schuylerville, we aim to provide a high-quality education that our community can be proud of,” said Superintendent Ryan Sherman.
“Our strong financial footing allows us to look to the future as we grow new opportunities for student success.”