Spending plan maintains programs, stays within maximum allowable levy
Residents to vote on proposed budget on
Tuesday, May 15
April 26, 2012
- On Tuesday, May 15, Goshen Central School District
residents will vote on a $61,613,356 proposed budget for 2012-13. This
budget, which represents a spending increase of 2.39 percent, will
result in a tax levy increase of 2.21 percent – an increase that meets
the district’s legal limit under the new tax levy cap legislation.
Voters will also vote to authorize the purchase of
four new school buses and elect four members to the Board of Education.
Learn more about propositions
Challenges include loss in federal aid,
rising costs and constraints of new tax levy cap law
In order to balance the budget for next school year, Goshen had
to close a budget gap of $712,134 – the result of rising costs for
contractual salaries, retirement and health insurance premiums, the loss
of federal Education Jobs Fund monies, and the constraints of the new
tax levy cap law.
The New York state budget gives Goshen an estimated
increase of $603,669 in state aid for next school year – a total of
approximately $11.3 million. However, even with the increase, state aid
levels are only slightly higher than what the district received in
In addition, the district will lose federal funding
under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, known as the
Education Jobs Fund (EJF). The funding will end on June 30, and the
district’s loss of EJF – $634,341 – turns what appears to be an
approximate $603,669 gain in aid into an approximate $30,672 loss in aid
over the current year.
Rising costs for retirement contributions, health
insurance and benefits are driving up the budget, with an increase of
approximately $944,397. However, the district has little control over
these costs – the first being dictated by the state and the second by
the costs of health care as an industry.
In the wake of these challenges, the district built
the proposed budget so vital student programs and employee positions
were preserved as much as possible – while meeting its maximum allowable
levy of 2.21 percent. When placed in front of voters on May 15, a simple
majority of voters, or 50 percent plus one, will be needed in order for
the budget to pass.
“The tax levy cap legislation raised the stakes this
year by setting new thresholds for voter approval, but our approach to
budget development remained the same,” said Superintendent Daniel
Connor. “As in past years, it was our intention to craft a budget that
meets taxpayers’ expectations while continuing to provide essential
programs and services critical to our students’ success.”
Budget Q&A: Find answers to your questions about the proposed budget
Under the tax “cap,” aren’t taxes limited to
Although New York’s tax levy cap law has been referred to as a
“2 percent cap” on taxes, the law does NOT restrict any proposed tax
levy increase to 2 percent. It also does not limit your tax rate or your
tax bill increase to 2 percent for next year.
Instead, the legislation requires school districts to calculate their
individual tax levy limit by using an eight-step formula. The figure “2
percent” (or the rate of inflation, if less) is just one of eight
variables that factor into a district’s calculation of its individual
tax levy limit.
Certain exemptions, including some pension costs and
local capital expenditures, are then added to the tax levy limit in
order to arrive at the maximum allowable levy.
This determines the level of voter support necessary
for budget approval. If a district meets or is below its legal limit,
then it needs the approval of a simple majority of voters (more than 50
percent). If it exceeds its legal limit, a super majority of voters (60
percent) is needed.
Learn more about the tax levy cap
What is Goshen’s maximum allowable levy?
Goshen’s maximum allowable levy, after adding approximately $1,007,236
in applicable exclusions to its tax levy limit, is $41,581,628 – an
increase of 2.21 percent. The proposed budget has a tax levy increase of
2.21 percent; therefore, a simple majority will be needed to pass the
budget. However, the district’s decision not to exceed its tax levy
limit meant that a gap of $712,134 had to be closed to balance the
Are there any changes in programs or staff
for next year?
The 2012-13 budget proposal is essentially a rollover budget, with no
additional programs or personnel for next year. However, there are no
program and staff cuts either – only reductions to certain areas and
vacated positions that won’t be filled. In order to close the gap, the
proposed budget includes the following reductions:
1 FTE teacher (unfilled resignation)
1 FTE aide (unfilled leave of absence)
1 FTE bus monitor (unfilled retirement)
Supplies, equipment and contractual agreements to
outside vendors within the Buildings & Grounds Department
Supplies and contractual agreements within the
BOCES programs, including four spots in the GO Program, three spots
in the Restart Program and two spots in the Intensive Day Treatment
Special Education Department services, including one student tuition
and one 1:1 nursing (these spots will be vacated by the current
Also, two special education teacher positions would
be transferred from the general fund to the special aid fund.
Is the district using reserve funds to help
balance the budget?
The district uses its undesignated fund balance every year to help
offset the tax levy. Since the 2010-11 school year, in the wake of
severe aid cuts, the Board of Education has applied $980,434 from the
undesignated fund balance to limit the tax levy increase each year. It
will apply the same amount of $980,434 for the 2012-13 school year.
If the budget passes, how will my property
taxes be affected?
The 2012-13 proposed budget has a tax levy increase of 2.21 percent.
However, this does not mean that everyone’s property taxes will increase
by 2.21 percent.
The impact on property taxes will be different for each resident,
depending on a number of factors. Property assessments, equalization
rates and the STAR program all affect your tax bill – and none of these
are determined by the school district. For more information, contact
your local tax assessor.
What happens if the budget is defeated?
If the budget is voted down, the Board may put the same or a revised
budget up for a revote or adopt a contingent budget. If it is defeated
twice, it must, by law, go to contingency. It is important to note that
under the new tax levy cap law, if a district must adopt a contingent
budget, it can’t increase its tax levy by any amount – i.e., a ZERO
percent increase. This would require an additional $898,287 in
reductions for next year.
Learn more about contingent budgets