Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Education

Budget heading to public hearing will ask for 1.99 percent levy hike

Maryvale School District

The Maryvale Board of Education will present voters with a nearly $43.2 million 2017-18 budget — one that would include a 1.99 percent tax levy increase — at the district’s annual budget hearing, scheduled for early May.

Board members unanimously adopted the proposed budget, an increase of just less than $1 million, or 2.37 percent, at Tuesday’s meeting.

The final piece of the district’s proposal came into focus recently, as aid figures coalesced following the passage of New York’s 2017-18 spending plan. In total, Maryvale’s state aid will increase about $349,000, or 1.94 percent. It’s a welcome increase for a district that has been hit hard with budget cuts in previous years, although not the best-case scenario, according to Stephen Lunden, assistant superintendent for administrative services.

“Would have loved for it to have been more, but it wasn’t as much as we had hoped would actually take place this year,” he said.

Indeed, the aid increase was not enough to close the district’s budget gap, which stands at approximately $317,000, and when residents vote on the proposal in May, they will be asked to override the state’s so-called 2 percent property tax cap. Although the cap is often discussed as a flat 2-percent ceiling, it is actually worked out through a complex formula, which this year puts Maryvale’s maximum levy increase at 0.44 percent.

The district also plans to use an estimated $1.2 million of fund balance, or surplus, to offset expenses.

The expense side of Maryvale’s budget is segmented into three sections: administrative, which includes central office costs; capital, which covers building projects; and program, which consists of instructional and classroom expenses. All of the increases come from the program section.

Since the proposed budget exceeds the cap, it must be approved by a supermajority of 60 percent of voters.

Should voters balk at the spending plan, the district would have to fall back to a bare-bones contingency budget that would require significant programming and personnel cuts, according to Superintendent Joseph R. D’Angelo.

The pared-back budget would eliminate six teachers, all district clubs and activities, the middle and high school’s vocal programs and modified sports, as well as a bevy of other programs. In addition, D’Angelo said class sizes at several levels would balloon to upward of 30 students.

The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8, in the Samuel R. Bennett Building, 1050 Maryvale Drive. The budget vote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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