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Nanuet School Board Conducts Final Budget Review

At the next board meeting, they will approve the proposed budget. All documents from last night’s meeting is attached to this article.

Nanuet School Board Conducts Final Budget Review Nanuet School Board Conducts Final Budget Review Nanuet School Board Conducts Final Budget Review

 

At last night’s Nanuet Board of Education meeting, they had a final review of the 2012-13 budget. There were several forms laid out on a table for the public to take to help explain the decisions made.

Last week, the board met for budget workshops, in which they discussed on Monday night and looked at on Tuesday.

The budget increased by 1.60 percent from 2011-12 to 2012-13 and tax levy is .64 percent.

.64 Tax Levy

“Usually we make our budgets based off of programs, but because of the 2 percent tax levy cap, our budget was done on what the state will allow us under the cap,” said Board President Anne Byrne.

On the Nanuet website, Superintendent Mark McNeill explains the tax levy cap and its effects on the budget.

The 2012-13 budget is the first Nanuet budget that is affected by Chapter 97 of the laws of 2011 enacted June 24, 2011.  This legislation limits the increase in the total levy set by local governments and school districts to an amount equal to the 2011-12 tax levy times the lesser of 2.0% or the Consumer Price Index.

This calculation is made on a form available on the Office of State Comptroller website and had to be submitted by March 1, 2012.  It should be noted that factors included in the calculation of the allowable tax levy limit such as the capital tax levy, PILOTS receivable, and certain exclusions for pension costs - contribute to variations in the 2012-13 tax levies among school districts.

With respect to Nanuet, a key factor in the calculation of the District's tax levy is the retirement of $681,281 debt associated with our 1999 Technology Bond.  Accordingly, Nanuet's 2012-13 tax levy will increase by 0.64%, in contrast to the 2011-12 tax levy which was a -.75% decrease.  In terms of budget-to-budget increases, the proposed budget increase is 1.60%, in contrast to the 2011-12 budget decrease of -.02%.

“For Nanuet, we could not raise more than .64 percent,” said Byrne. “Most of the districts around us are around the 2 percent, some a little higher, some a little lower." 

The tax levy for Nyack schools is 2.17 percent and for Pearl River, it’s 2.15 percent. Over in Clarkstown, their school budget is going to rise by 2.40 percent and they’re pulling $5.8 million from their reserves.

"The biggest reason we’re at .64 percent is because we were fiscally responsible and retired debt last year, not realizing that we would be penalized for doing that," said Byrne. "The tax levy cap is 2 percent. It's a formula with about 10 numbers plugged in. One of the things we did last year was retire one of our debts. It came off our books ... and because the debt was retired, we couldn't go past .64 (percent)."

"The formula ... if you reduce your debt service, or your capital tax levy, it actually reduces the amount of levy you can have by that amount. It works against you," said "On the other hand, if you were to add debt—which you don't want to do—you actually get a break on the tax levy because that becomes an exclusion you can add back to your levy, thereby getting over the 2 percent. It's strictly how the numbers fall in the formula. You're bound by the formula." 

Next year, the school budget will not have this problem since they won't be retiring debt, so it'll be closer to the 2 percent tax levy the following year.

Without doing anything, keeping all programs the same, the budget would increase by roughly 3 or 3.5 percent from increases in fixed costs that the district can't control. This means that the school would have to find places to cut to get it down below the cap. 

Therefore, no matter what, programs will have to be cut. 

Changes

The proposed 2012-13 budget includes the following changes:

  • Elimination of a net 2.5 teaching positions resulting primarily from a change in the Middle School schedule.
  • Elimination of two Library Clerk positions through attrition.
  • Decrease of $95,000 in security costs.
  • Elimination of $681,000 of debt service associated with the retiring of the 1999 Technology Bond.

Please see the  2012-13 Public Budget document that was reviewed by the Board of Education at the Budget Workshops on March 12 and 13.  You can also review the  District's completed tax levy limit  form provided by the Office of the State Comptroller.

For more details, check out these two earlier Patch articles: on Monday night and  on Tuesday.

Trends

One of the documents at the meeting last night showed data charts of the budget and levy from previous years.

“This shows the decision making that’s taking place in this district to come in with some tax levies that help mitigate things such as the Pfizer tax certiorari.”

Trends in Budget and Levy

Budget/Levy 2012-13 (proposed) 2011-12 2010-11 2009-10 Budget 1.60% -.02% 2.00% 1.97% Levy .64% -.74% 2.31% 2.33%

Average Percent Change in Budget and Levy

No. of Years Budget Levy Year 2 Years +.79 -.05 2011-13 3 Years +1.19 +.74 2010-13 4 Years +1.39 +1.14 2009-13

Over the past four years:

  • 15.3 teaching positions have been eliminated. This budget calls for reducing 2.5 positions out of the 15.3.
  • 2 teaching assistant positions have been eliminated
  • 2 clerical positions have been eliminated
  • 1.2 custodian positions have been eliminated
  • 4.5 monitor positions have been eliminated

Student enrollment has stayed about the same lingering around the 2,300 student population for the past three years and for the projected 2012-13 school year.

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