The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education adopted a proposed $29,847,711 million budget for the 2020-21 school year at its May 18 meeting.
The budget vote and board election will be conducted by absentee ballot only because of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Ballots will be mailed to qualified voters the week of May 26. Completed ballots must be returned to the district no later than 5 p.m. on June 9.
The proposed budget balances a $2 million gap with cuts and the use of fund balance, while staying within the tax levy limit and preserving academic programs.
The proposal was developed against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on state and local finances. The plan calls for $875,000 in cuts, uses $925,000 in fund balance/reserves and proposes a 3.5% tax levy increase. The calculated “tax levy cap” for FFCS is 6.2%.
The plan eliminates 10 staff positions, mostly through retirements that will not be filled. It also cuts pre-K transportation, eliminates some extracurricular activities and reduces supplies.
The district reduced its budget in response to the state’s plans to reduce aid, including mid-year cuts. The proposed budget calls for a 1.62% spending decrease compared to the current budget.
“We developed a budget that takes the uncertainty of mid-year cuts into account while preserving the integrity of our academic programs,” Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio said. “We have projected a loss of 10% of foundation aid, or about $1 million.”
Because the proposed tax levy increase is under the cap, the proposed budget will require a simple majority vote for approval. The tax cap law only applies to the tax levy (the amount of taxes collected by the district), not to tax rates or individual tax bills.
If the proposed budget is approved by voters, estimates show a property with a full assessed value of $100,000 would have an approximate annual tax bill increase of $56, or $4.66 per month.
Public hearing will be livestreamed
A public hearing on the proposed 2019-20 budget is scheduled Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. via livestream. Information about accessing the livestream will be available on the district’s website at www.fondafultonvilleschools.org/boe.
Community members who have questions about the proposed budget can submit them by emailing email@example.com or calling 518-853-4415 ext. 4230. School officials will respond live to all questions received by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. Community members who submit questions after that time will receive a personal reply.
About voting by absentee ballot
Qualified voters on the school district’s most recent years’ poll lists and the county’s registered voter list will be automatically sent an absentee ballot. Ballots will be mailed the week of May 26. Anyone who meets the definition of a qualified voter, but does not believe they will be on the school district’s or county’s lists, please contact the District Clerk Lori Maves by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to ensure timely receipt of an absentee ballot for the 2020 election.
Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote.
All absentee ballots must be mailed and received by the district clerk, or delivered to the drop box in front of the district office, no later than 5 p.m. on June 9.
Residents will elect three board members
The candidates, listed in alphabetical order, are incumbent Dennis Egelston, incumbent Mike Lewis and John Wiltey.
A one-year seat vacated by Frederick Hidde, will commence on June 10 and expire on June 30, 2021. Two three-year seats, presently occupied by Egelston and Lewis, become vacant as of July 1, 2020, and expire on June 30, 2023.
The two top vote getters will be elected to the three-year terms. The candidate with the third-most votes will be elected to the one-year term.