Voting Results – May 20, 2014
On May 20, voters headed to the polls to decide on the school budget for 2014-15
The 2014-2015 Budget Passed: 626 Yes – 257 No
Voters also elected Edward Knight, Chris Kelly, and Teri Conte to three-year terms on the Board of Education that run July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. James Marks received the fourth most votes, and will serve the remainder of an unexpired term caused by the resignation of David O’Connor. That term runs now through June 30, 2015.
Voting results for Board of Education Election:
Wayne Coe – 362
Edward Knight – 673
James Marks – 474
Steve Gilger – 351
Chris Kelly – 551
Gail Behrens Day – 410
Teri Conte – 511
Ted Miner – 416
The budget totals $29,468,429, a 1% increase over the 2013-14 budget, and carries a tax levy increase of .66%, which is within the District’s tax cap set by the state.
2014-15 Budget Presentations
- Community Budget Presentation – April-May 2014
- Final Budget – 4-8-14
- Special Education – 3-25-14
- Transportation, Benefits, Debt Service & Cafeteria – 3-11-14
- Instructional, Library, & Property Tax Cap – 2-25-14
- General Administration & Operations – 2-11-14
- Governor’s Executive Budget State Aid Projections for Chatham CSD – 1-28-14
Property Tax Cap Information
Contrary to popular belief, the property tax cap does not cap tax increases at 2 percent. Instead, public schools in NY must use a state formula to determine how much they can increase their tax levies by without having to seek a higher percentage of voter approval for the budget. This threshold must be determined and submitted to the State by March 1st of every year.
According to the state formula, Chatham’s tax levy cap is 0.66% for 2014.
If the year-to-year increase of the District’s tax levy (portion of the school budget funded by property tax) is at or below the number determined by the cap (0.66%), a simple majority (50% + 1) of voter approval is needed to pass the budget. If the District puts before voters a budget that carries a tax levy increase above 0.66%, a super majority (60%) of voter approval is needed for the budget to pass.
More information on the NYS Property Tax Cap as it pertains to public schools is available through the links below.
- Understanding the NYS Property Tax Cap
- New rules for budget votes
- Understanding the three tax levy numbers under the new law
- Information on Tax Levy Limit Formula
- NY State Education Department Website
What is a fund balance? How is it used?
A fund balance is a reserve much like a homeowner’s savings account. When a school district’s expenses are less than what was expected or revenues are higher than expected, the money is held in the fund balance. Districts use fund balance each year as revenue in the budget to minimize spending cuts and stabilize tax increases. The money is also used for unforeseen expenses throughout the school year. By law, a school district’s fund balance cannot exceed 4% of the next year’s budget. In challenging economic times like the present, school districts must plan carefully how they use their fund balance to ensure it does not run out.
What is the NY State’s Gap Elimination Adjustment?
The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) was proposed by Governor David Paterson as a one-time fix to reduce the state’s budget deficit. However, the state has continued to use it the past five years to cut millions of dollars in state aid to local school districts. In governor Cuomo’s 2014 executive budget proposal, he continues the GEA, which for Chatham means the District will see $592,204 less in state aid for 2014-15 than it would see if the GEA cuts were ended.