Voters to decide on $37.4 million budget proposal

Click here for the 2020-21 budget newsletter.

Qualified voters of the Schuylerville Central School District will vote on a $37.4 million proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year via absentee ballot, per the Governor’s Executive Order No. 202.26. The absentee ballots must be returned via a postage paid return envelope to the District Clerk no later than 5 p.m. on June 9, 2020.

The proposed budget calls for a 3.4% spending increase and an estimated tax levy increase of 2.6%. The district’s projected 2020-21 maximum allowable tax levy under the NYS property tax cap is 6.495%, but under the current budget proposal, will be 2.6%. This means, if the budget is approved, homeowners who qualify will again be eligible for the state’s property tax relief credit. 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 budget proposal was put together taking into account capital project debt service coming online, in addition to increased costs associated with retirement and health insurance benefits.

The district anticipates the state’s building aid will offset future debt service payments for the capital project; this will assist in stabilizing tax levy increases. So far, $15 million of the voter-approved $24.7 million has been borrowed for the project. The 2020-21 fiscal year is when the district must start paying the debt service (the repayment of the interest and principal of the loan.)

Impact of the state’s fiscal crisis

The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to have a serious impact on school district budgets throughout the state. Right now, the Schuylerville Central School District is facing a two to three million dollar budget deficit. If needed, the projected use of fund balance will increase by more than 50 percent in comparison to the past five years.

“With the anticipation of reduction in state aid, we are committed to using up to $2.2. million in reserves and fund balance to protect the district’s programming for this year,” said Business Manager, Marian Chrisman. “We’ve had many discussions about how to maintain our programming and staffing with so many unknowns, but also remain fiscally conservative for the taxpayers.”

“We are grateful for the community’s support as we strive to balance a budget through these difficult economic times,” said Board of Education President, Frank Nesbitt. “We will continue to prioritize the district’s mission, as well as the high level of academic programming for our students.”

Board of Education Election

Qualified voters will elect two members to the Board of Education:

  • One member to a five-year term beginning on July 1, 2020
  • One member to fill the unexpired term of Mike Booth, beginning on June 9, 2020 and expiring on June 30, 2021

Below are candidate profiles of individuals who have turned in petitions to be on the ballot:

Bernard Buff, Jr.
Bernard Buff, Jr.

Bernard Buff, Jr. is a current member of the Schuylerville Board of Education, board appointed to fill an interim position until the next board election. He currently works as a construction engineer for Verizon Wireless in North Greenbush. Buff graduated from New Lebanon High School, earned an associate’s degree from Hudson Valley Community College and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Buff and his wife, Cathleen, have lived in the district since 2009 and have two daughters. Maeve is a sophomore at Schuylerville High School and Anika is in eighth grade at Schuylerville Middle School. The family lives at 171 Southard Rd. in Saratoga Springs.

Jack Macica
Jack Macica

Jack Macica is running to return for an eighth term on the Schuylerville Board of Education, where he’s served as president (9 years), vice president (20 years), legislative liaison (2 years) and Board auditor (3 years). Macica retired in November 2018 from State Farm Insurance, where he worked as a project manager for agency system distributions. Macica graduated from Schuylerville High School and earned a degree in business management through the SUNY system. Macica and his wife, Jamie, live at 844 Rt. 29 in Saratoga Springs. They have two daughters – Danielle Bailey and Elizabeth Macica – who both graduated from Schuylerville High School, as well as two grandchildren – Ian Bailey and Campbell Bailey – who are currently in grades nine and seven, respectively, at Schuylerville Central School.