M AY 2 0 1 5 B U D G E T E D I T I O NCommitted tothe Pursuit ofLife-Long LearningBUDGET VOTETuesdayMAY 19, 20157 a.m. – 9 p.m.Averill Park High SchoolAUXILIARY GYMBUDGETSUMMARY roposed 2015-2016PBudget 53,906,501 Budget-to-BudgetIncrease 1,039,316or 1.97%E stimated Tax LevyIncrease 2.25%(Within the tax levy limit)The Proposal maintainsprograms and servicesoffered in 2014-15,restores opportunitiesfor students impactedby previous budget cutsand includes additionalstudent supports.Also on theBallot us PurchaseBProposition (See page 5)B oard of EducationElection (See page 2)Poestenkill, West Sand Lake and Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary fourth graders have been immersed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)learning throughout the year as local scientists have left their labs to work with our students in our schools. It’s part of SmartKids NY, an in-school programthat connects students to STEM through entrepreneurship using hands on demos, experiments and presentations led by New York’s entrepreneurs andinnovators. Students have learned about composting, physical computing, how packaging materials can be made from natural materials and how nanotechnology is used to harness renewable energy resources. The program is funded by the Averill Park Education Foundation and a grant from Questar III.BUDGET COMPLIES WITH TAX LEVY LIMIT2015-2016 Proposed Budget Restores & Enhances ProgramsOn Tuesday, May 19, Averill Park CentralSchool District residents will consider a 53,906,501 proposed budget for the 2015-2016school year. The plan increases spending forthe first time in six years by 1,039,316, or 1.97percent, over the current year. If approved byvoters, the budget would result in a 2.25 percenttax levy increase, which stays within the District’sallowable tax levy limit under the state’s tax levycap legislation.Residents will also vote on a school buspurchase and elect two members to the Board ofEducation.The final state budget allocates 19,957,192in State Aid to Averill Park for 2015-16 – anincrease of 1,351,047 over the current year.Included in this increase is a restoration in GapElimination Adjustment funding in 2015-16.Program increases are possible for next year dueto the increase in state funding combined with areduction in pension costs for all employees.“We are pleased to build on the currentyear’s budget, which maintained programs andstaff,” said Superintendent James Hoffman. “Indeveloping the 2015-16 spending plan, we arefinally in a position to restore opportunities forstudents impacted by previous budget cuts andadd supports for students.”The proposed budget includes the followingrestorations and additions: Restore Full Day Kindergarten by adding 2.5Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) teachers Restore one librarian position to each buildingby adding 1.0 FTE Library Media Specialist Restore one music teacher in each elementaryschool by adding .8 FTE Music Teacherwhich would provide performances for band,orchestra, and chorus Restore 1.0 FTE Technology IntegrationSpecialist to insure K-12 alignment oftechnology curriculum Restore 1.0 FTE School Psychologist toperform state-mandated evaluations forstudents with disabilities Restore funding to the Modified Sportsprogram to eliminate the need forindependent fundraising(Continued on Page 2)
NYS Property Tax FreezeCredit ProgramThe New York State Property Tax Freeze Credit program is a two-yeartax relief program that was enacted as part of the 2014-2015 StateBudget. Homeowners who already receive the STAR property taxexemption and reside within a school district and municipality thatstay within the New York State tax levy calculation are eligible toreceive a tax rebate from the New York State Department of Taxationand Finance.Under the program’s first year, homeowners would receive rebatesfor increases in their property taxes if their school district compliedwith the tax levy cap. Because the Averill Park Central School District’sapproved 2014-2015 budget stayed within the property tax cap,eligible residents received a rebate check from the state betweenNov. 2014 and Feb. 2015.In the second year of the program, homeowners will receive thefreeze credit for any increases in their property taxes if their schooldistrict once again remains within the tax cap limits and adoptsa state-approved government efficiency plan. This plan mustdemonstrate savings of one percent of its tax levies in each of thethree following years.“The budget we are putting forward once again stays within thedistrict’s calculated tax levy limit,” Averill Park School SuperintendentDr. James Hoffman said. “We fully expect to meet the requirementsof the second year of the program by developing and submittingan efficiency plan by the June 1 deadline in an effort to secure thefreeze credit once again for our taxpayers.”The Freeze Credit is calculated by the NYS Department of Taxationand Finance and no action is needed by the homeowner. Secondyear rebate checks would once again be issued by the state.For information about the program, please visit the NYS Departmentof Taxation and Finance’s website.BUDGET COMPLIES WITH TAX LEVY(Continued from Page 1) Add .5 FTE Math Teacher to provide additional time for students inAlgebra2/Trigonometry Add 2.0 FTE Curriculum Coaches for math/science and Englishlanguage arts to insure alignment of curriculum and instructionalpractice Add new high school courses – Intro to Technology, Theatre forYoung People, Sign Language & Deaf Culture, and BiotechnologyLab Internship Add sections of Health instruction at the high school to transitioninstruction from junior year to sophomore year Expand clubs and activities at all school building levels Create second Distance Learning Classroom to increaseopportunities for high school students“I am very pleased that this budget provides us with three things:Most importantly, it allows us to increase opportunities for our studentsat all levels,” said Dr. Hoffman. “Secondly, since the budget is withinthe tax levy cap, and will be able to demonstrate savings throughefficiencies, taxpayers will have their tax increase returned to themby the state. Finally, it will enable our district to increase our reservesin order to protect these new programs from being eliminated in thefuture. It is important to remember to vote on May 19.”For more information about the proposed budget, and to seewhat restorations have been made since August 2012, visitwww.averillpark.k12.ny.us.Board of Education CandidatesTwo of the seven seats on Averill Park CSD’s Board of Education are up for electionon May 19. Running for these seats, in the order they appear on the ballot, areChris Foster and Jessica Zweig. Each seat carries a new three-year term beginning July1, 2015. Candidate profiles can be found online at www.averillpark.k12.ny.us.Alternative Veterans’ Tax ExemptionThe Averill Park Central School Districtwill be offering a partial tax exemptionto the eligible veterans in the Districtstarting in the 2015-2016 school year.The Real Property Tax Law §458 wasexpanded allowing school districts acrossNew York to provide partial property taxexemptions to veterans residing in thedistrict. Prior to the new law, only towns,counties, villages and cities offeredveteran exemptions.In December 2014, the Averill ParkBoard of Education approved byresolution the Alternative Veterans’Tax Exemption at the basic maximumexemption levels as defined by the RealProperty Tax Law §458. The exemptionwould be applied to school property taxbills this coming fall.The exemption limits for eligible veteransare as follows: Wartime: 15% of assessed valueup to 9,000 Combat Zone: Additional 10% ofassessed value up to 6,000 Disability: up to 30,000 more forveterans who suffered a “serviceconnected” disabilityThe Board also authorized the Gold Starparent provision which extends an exemptionto parents whose children died in the lineof duty while serving during periods of war.Veterans with already approved exemptionson file with their local town/county do notneed to reapply for a school tax exemption.Please contact your local assessor’s office toconfirm your eligibility.PA G E2SCHOOL TAX DISCOUNTSAnnual Income Range 0 - 29,000 29,001 - 30,000 30,001 - 31,000 31,001 - 32,000 32,001 - 32,900 32,901 - 33,800 33,801 - 34,700 34,701 - 35,600 35,601 - 36,500 36,501 - 37,400Exemption50%45%40%35%30%25%20%15%10%5%The Board of Education discounts schooltaxes for Averill Park Central SchoolDistrict senior citizens and disabledhomeowners. State law gives schooldistricts the option to grant exemptions forproperty taxpayers ages 65 and older orwho are disabled and meet certain incomelimitations and other requirements.
The New York State School Report Card Fiscal AccountabilitySupplement for Averill Park Central School DistrictNew York State Education Law and the Commissioner’s Regulations require the attachment of the NYS School Report Cardto the public school district budget proposal. The regulations require that certain expenditure ratios for general educationand special education students be reported and compared with ratios for similar districts and all public schools. The requiredratios for this district are reported below and are the most recent data available.ThisSchoolDistrictInstructional ExpendituresPupilsExpenditures Per Pupil2012-2013 School YearGeneral Education 25,896,2303,236 8,003Special Education 11,672,353529 22,065SimilarDistrictGroupInstructional ExpendituresPupilsExpenditures Per Pupil 7,959,898,164775,402 10,266 3,121,828,901106,702 29,257All PublicSchoolsInstructional ExpendituresPupilsExpenditures Per Pupil 30,025,916,6852,666,629 11,260 12,279,242,539410,379 29,922Similar District Group Description: Average Need/Resource CapacityAverill Park CSD is in good standing and is a high achieving school district. The district is reaching these standards all while keeping costsdown. Averill Park’s cost per pupil is significantly less than other districts of similar size within New York State.Averill Park’sClass of 2014 Of 278 graduates in June2014, 93% of graduatesearned Regents diplomas.Of those, 32% earnedRegents diplomas withadvanced designationby completing additionalrequirements in science,math & foreign languages. 2 students achieved aCTE (Career and TechnicalEducation) endorsementon their diploma throughQuestar III coursework. 88% of the Class of 2014planned to continue theirformal education. Collegesincluded: Boston University,Cornell University,Rensselaer PolytechnicInstitute, SyracuseUniversity, University ofRochester, NortheasternUniversity, RochesterInstitute of Technology andseveral New York State(SUNY) Colleges.Proposed 2015-16 Budget Questions & AnswersQ: Is the proposed budget within the tax levy cap?Q: What is a fund balance? How is it used?A: Yes. The proposed budget would result in a tax levy increase of 2.25percent, which is at Averill Park’s “tax levy limit” under the state’s tax caplaw. When New York passed a property tax cap in 2011, elected officialstouted the new state law as a “2% tax cap.” However, the law does notrestrict any proposed tax levy increase to 2 percent—or any other amount.Instead, the legislation requires each school district in the state to calculateits own tax levy limit using an eight-step formula to determine how muchthey can increase their tax levy by. As a result, most school districts can raisetheir tax levies by more than 2 percent and still be within the tax cap. Underthe state’s calculation for 2015-16, AP has a tax levy limit of 28,712,910or an increase of 2.25 percent. This is the District’s maximum allowable levylimit to pass the budget with a simple majority of voters (50 percent 1). Thetax levy proposed in the adopted budget is at this amount.A: A fund balance is a reserve much like a homeowner’s savings account.Just as homeowners are careful not to use up their savings accounts, schooldistricts also must plan carefully how they use their fund balance to ensure itdoes not run out. When a district’s expenses are less than what was expectedor revenues are higher than expected, the money is held in the fund balance.The money can be used for unforeseen expenses throughout the schoolyear. AP does not have a substantial fund balance to help compensate taxincreases. Currently, the District expects to end the fiscal year with an unassigned fund balance of about 2.1 million, or 4.0 percent of the proposedbudget, within the four (4) percent limit allowed by state law in unassignedfund balance.Q: What is the Gap Elimination Adjustment and how is it affectingAverill Park’s school budget?A: If the proposed budget is defeated by voters on May 19, the Board ofEducation will have three options: present the same budget to voters a second time, present a revised budget to voters, or adopt a contingent budget.If the budget is defeated a second time, the board must adopt a contingentbudget. In addition, with property tax levy limit or “cap” law in effect, undera contingent budget the district can levy a tax no greater than that of theprior year’s budget – essentially a zero percent tax levy increase. For AverillPark, a contingent budget would be 53,274,677, which would mean thedistrict would have to cut 631,824 from the proposed budget.A: What was intended to be a one-year cut to state aid to fill the state’sbudget deficit, the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, is heading into itssixth straight year of state aid reductions for Averill Park, and school districtsacross the state. School districts have been calling upon state leaders toeliminate the GEA entirely. Under the final state budget, the District willreceive a restoration of 1,362,155 in GEA funding. However, Averill Parkstill faces a GEA loss of 804,030 for 2015-16 and an overall loss of fundingof 16.5 million since the GEA went into effect.PA G EQ: If the budget is defeated on May 19, what options does theBoard of Education have?3
M A Y2 0 1 5REVENUES: Whe