BoE Announces Proposed Budget for 2019 - 2020

Superintendent Search Continues

On Monday, April 8, the Pawling Central School District Board of Education convened at Pawling Middle School to present the proposed budget for the next fiscal year along with the projected end-of-year fund balance. Officials also announced the date for next years’ budget Public Hearing and provided an update on the hiring process for the next district Superintendent.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance Dr. Neysa Sensenig reviewed the district’s proposed budget for the 2019 – 2020 fiscal year. The proposed tax levy for 2019 – 2020 will be $29,037,734, representing an increase of 1.25% from the previous year. Officials stressed that this figure is below the state tax cap of 1.95%, and will be used to maintain programs throughout the district.

The proposed budget is $38,750,576, representing an increase of 2.87% from the previous year’s budget of $37,670,716. This increase in the proposed budget is attributed to several factors in the four categories of the budget: general support (utilities, security, and contractual expenses), instruction (supplies, Special Education tuition, and contractual expenses including salaries) pupil transportation, and health insurance.

Increases to the budget include the following: contractual expenses including software and copiers will be raised 6.7%, instructional and non-instructional supplies including computers and materials for Project Lead The Way will be increased by 26.92%, negotiated contractual salary obligations of 3.22%, utilities increases offset by repair reductions will be raised by 6.94%, and benefits, including health insurance and TRS/ERS (retirement) rate reductions, will be raised by 1.27%.

Officials also outlined a number of revenue changes, including interest income from non-property tax revenues of $200,000, state aid from the adjusted state budget in the amount of $521,658, $208 from the Castagna PILOT, and $357,994 from the tax levy, for a total change of $1,079,860. The Board voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget, and a Public Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School.

Dr. Sensenig also reviewed the district’s projected June 2019 fund balance as of February 28, 2019. Currently, PCSD has a total projected revenue of $37,271,071 and total projected expenditures of $37,649,160. These figures along with fund balance considerations will result in an estimated fund balance of $375,031 by the end of the fiscal year. These excess funds were the result of increased state aid and interest income during the current school year.

In addition to the upcoming budget vote in May, there will also be three available seats on the PCSD Board of Education for three-year terms beginning on July 1, 2019, and ending on June 30, 2022. Candidates can obtain a petition at the District Office, 515, Route 22. Monday, April 22, is the final day to file a nominating petition with the District Clerk. The Budget vote and School Board election will take place on Tuesday, May 21 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Pawling Elementary School gym.

The meeting closed with an update on the search for PCSD’s next Superintendent, who will fill the vacancy when Dr. Bill Ward retires at the conclusion of the school year. The Board began with a field of 28 candidates for the position and have narrowed their choice down to three prospective candidates. Dr. Jeffrey Asher, President of the School Board, indicated that “any of these three finalists would be excellent as our next Superintendent.” The screening and interview process is ongoing, and officials are confident that a candidate will be selected within the next several weeks.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School, 7 Haight Street.