Budget Questions & Answers
What are some of the significant changes for Kendall’s 2017-18 school budget?
The overall proposed budget for 2017-18 is an increase of 0.14 percent over the 2016-17 budget. While there continues to be increases due to numerous unfunded and underfunded mandates, and increases in the cost of living and health insurance rates, they were largely offset this year by a decline in the rates we’re charged by the state for the pension system, a decline in our overall health care costs as employees migrate to more cost-effective plans, energy savings from our energy performance contract and sharing services.
What are some of the mandated costs to the district?
Mandated costs include over 200 additional NYS Special Education requirements; academic intervention services; pension system contribution; minimum wage increase on overall payroll; professional development; resources to support the Common Core Learning Standards; training for support staff to maintain licensure; multiple technology requirements; state-mandated auditing functions; and various reporting requirements, to name a few. In fact, if Kendall Schools’ unfunded and underfunded mandates were paid in full, we would not need to raise local taxes whatsoever. Unfortunately, these mandates are not paid in full; therefore, local taxpayers assume the difference in taxes.
What has Kendall done to offset these increases and mandated costs?
Kendall Schools thoughtfully and comprehensively reviews all services and resources to maximize efficiencies, resulting in realignment of some staff to ensure student success at all levels. Kendall Schools participates in a health insurance and workers’ compensation consortium with many other school districts, allowing for lower rates. All staff are provided information to make informed decisions about health insurance plans. We share services with neighboring school districts, BOCES 2 and the town. Some shared services include, but are not limited to, transportation runs, athletic teams, staff, extracurricular activities and professional development services. We have established reserves for long-range financial planning. Our energy performance measures, such as lighting and temperature control systems, reduced our energy bills.
How has state aid affected the school budget?
Approximately 69.7 percent of our revenue is state aid, and fluctuations in state aid influence our district operations. Our overall operating aid, or Foundation Aid, has increased slightly, while our expense-based aid actually decreased. Expense-based aid, like transportation and services for high-cost students with disabilities, fluctuates depending on need. Kendall Schools has actively addressed our efficiencies and shares transportation routes with Holley Schools, resulting in less utilization. In addition, Kendall Schools is serving more students with disabilities in-house, resulting in less costly out-of-district placements. Further, the Governor-proposed increases in state aid are often based on competitive grants or allocations to programs that Kendall Schools is not eligible to receive, such as monies for charter schools, specialized high school aid and community schools.
What is the proposed tax levy?
The tax levy is the total amount of money to be raised locally by a municipality after factoring in all other available revenues. The Kendall Central School District proposed tax levy is $4,715,842, or a one percent increase.
Will my taxes increase?
A home assessed at $100,000 with STAR exemption will have a negligible difference in the tax bill this year.
Why is the state building aid figure so large?
Building aid for the 2017-18 budget covers our payment of the debt incurred for the current capital projects at Kendall Schools. The Kendall Schools capital project will be aided in full by the voter approved capital reserve and building state aid.
What is the district’s proposition for School Bus Purchase?
As in years past, the district is seeking voter approval to expend monies in the current school bus reserve fund. This resolution will not increase the current tax levy.
What can we do to support our schools and community?
Be an advocate for our school district and Orleans County. For more information, visit our district’s, Town of Kendall’s and Orleans County’s websites. Our proposed school budget continues to support a quality instructional program and our students consistently perform better than the state average on multiple performance measures. Every year, we have graduation rates well above 90 percent, while our tax rate is one of the lowest when compared to surrounding districts. We offer a breadth of programs, preschool through grade 12, in academic opportunities, athletics, extracurricular activities and the arts. Orleans County and our towns have been active partners to increase broadband accessibility in our area; improve roads, bridges and culverts; enhance and expand water districts; increase business opportunities, and so much more. To be a vibrant community, we need to work together to stimulate economic development in our area. When contacting our local representatives, please advocate for our needs in Orleans County.