Board of Education Proposes 0.23% Budget Increase, Sets Public Hearing for May 1

On Monday, April 9, the Pawling Central School District Board of Education convened at Pawling Elementary School for their first of two monthly meetings. The session served to present the final proposed budget for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year.

The proposed budget for the upcoming year is $37,670,716, representing an increase of $65,285 (0.23%) to the tax levy. The figure also represents the first time that taxes have been increased since the 2014 – 2015 school year. Previous years saw reductions to the budget at a rate of 1.01% in 2015 – 2016; 0.84% in 2016 – 2017; and 1.13% in 2017 – 2018. Officials cited increases to the employee health benefit rate from 6.2% to 7.1% as the chief reason behind the need for the budget increase, as well as increases to Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and special education programs through the district.

The district is also applying reserves from the Capital Reserve Fund in the amount of $1,348,607 to the 2018 – 2019 budget. These funds represent the remaining money left over from building improvement projects throughout the district that will now be used to ease the burden on the taxpayers.

Despite the increase to the budget, officials were still able to stay beneath the state tax levy cap. In addition, the proposed budget also maintains all current academic programs, fine and performing arts offerings, and athletic programs. The district remains focused on their goals of supporting all learners and improving opportunities for academic challenge.

The proposed budget also still allows for the district to transfer $500,000 to the Capital Fund. This fund is used to support district-wide small projects and New York State Education Department code improvements. These include building renovations as well as enhancements to lighting and switching, computer monitoring, controls, cooling, ventilation, and improvements to school auditoriums and stages.

The Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget. There will be a public hearing for residents on Tuesday, May 1, at Pawling Elementary School at 7:30 p.m. The budget vote and Board of Education election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Pawling Elementary School Gymnasium.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School, 7 Haight Street.