Slashed Budget Going Before Carmel School Voters for a Second Time. Where You Can Vote

The defeat of last month’s proposed budget for the Carmel Board Central School District for 2021-2022 has forced the district to come up with a new revised, scaled back budget. The final tally in the May vote was 1,125 for and 1,296 against. The second vote on the revised budget is Tuesday, June 15.

The first proposed budget was $133 million for the 2021-2022 school year and included a 1.69 percent tax levy increase.

The new budget has been reduced by $1 million bringing the revised sum to $132 million and a tax levy increase of 0.6 percent or a 1.51 percent increase from last year’s budget. Should the revised budget be approved, reduced spending will be seen on facilities’ improvements, computer equipment, a reduction of two busses in the replacement cycle, expenditures for curriculum work, travel, conferences not related to federal grants and a 10 percent reduction of spending on all supplies.

Other cuts are positions ending due to retirement and includes seven teacher assistant positions, one secondary art position, one elementary position, one office assistant position at the district office.

The reduced June budget will spend the biggest chunk of the budget, $71.2 million, on instructional support. The next largest expense is for Benefits/Debt/Transfers at $42.8 million, $12.7 million will be spent on general support, $6.3 million on pupil transportation, $365K on Community Programs.

The district has other funds they can use. Revenue from the New York State School Aid at $29.2 million, miscellaneous revenue totals $1.8 million, a fund balance allocation in the amount of $2.2 million and the 0.60 percent tax levy will earn the district $99 million. Some programs will be paid for using Federal Stimulus funds. Summer school and compensatory services would be paid for by the Federal Stimulus Grant.

Eric Stark, Assistant Superintendent for Business, said district reserves can be used, if necessary, such as the tax certiorari and employee benefits reserves, a capital reserve for capital expenditures and an unallocated fund balance which is like a rainy-day fund at 4 percent of the budget.

If the June budget does not receive voter approval, by law, the BOE must adopt a contingency budget which would have a zero percent tax levy increase and the budget would be the same as last year, $131 million. State guidelines for contingent budgets require an additional $591,566 in reductions to the proposed budget. Among some of the cuts the district would have to make would be for school buses by $251K and equipment by $42.9K.

Board Trustee Debra Heitman-Cayea expressed concerns about cuts to buses in what she cited as one of the largest school districts in the region at 80 square miles. She asked what would happen if the district had to operate with a contingency budget.

Stark said there were spare buses in the fleet. “It is possible that we would have to reroute the fleet, but we wouldn’t have to do it immediately. On a contingency budget it is possible the district couldn’t purchase new buses and they would then have to reroute buses,” he said.

Superintendent of Schools Mary-Margaret Zehr said throughout the budget revision process the board reviewed all aspects of the budget. “The key reasons for many of our decisions was recognizing that the staff has the most impact on students’ success,” she said. “But our students next year are our priority hands down. The focus of any reductions was to make sure the supports for any of our students would be present throughout the school year.”

Budget Vote: June 15, 2021, 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Questions to Joanne Stevens, district clerk, at 845-878-2094, ext. 210.

Voting Locations

Registered voters must vote at their designated polling place based on address. If you are unsure of your polling place, please call Joanne Stevens, District Clerk, at 845-878-2094, ext. 210:

Patterson Residents: CCSD Administrative Office, 81 South Street, Patterson

Kent/East Fishkill Residents: Kent Elementary School, Route 52, Carmel

Carmel/Putnam Valley/Southeast Residents: Carmel High School, 30 Fair Street, Carmel

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