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District Insights: Budget Boosts Stem and Career Guidance

May 8, 2018 11:45 am Updated: May 8, 2018 11:55 am

To prepare the Hudson City School District’s 2018-19 budget, we spent the last few months carefully considering our present status and, more importantly, what must be done to continue building upon our improvement efforts.

We are pleased to propose a forward-thinking spending plan that puts career readiness and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) programs at the forefront. To help our community be well-informed before casting their votes on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the main features of the proposed budget are highlighted below. As always, more details are posted on our website.

The primary goals of the $48,769,728 proposed spending plan are to keep strengthening academic programs (particularly Math and Science), athletics and occupational development opportunities available to Hudson students. We are proud of our accomplishments so far and are committed to continuous improvement.

The estimated tax levy increase is 3.25 percent, which is below the District’s allowable tax levy limit of 3.85 percent calculated under New York State’s tax cap guidelines. As a result of staying within the allowable tax levy increase, qualifying homeowners would receive a property tax rebate from the state.

It is worth noting that Hudson’s budgets have stayed within the calculated tax cap for several years and will do so again for 2018-19. In fact, the two most recent school budgets have saved taxpayers nearly $270,000 due to proposed tax levy increases below the tax cap.

Part of the budget development process includes ensuring efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars while maintaining our improvement efforts. Since the majority of the District’s operating costs are staff-related, we conduct a careful analysis of staffing and student needs each year. We add or reduce staff as appropriate whenever there is a shift in our student or building needs.

In addition to retiree replacements, the budget would add the following positions: a Grade 1 teacher, a Grade 6 teacher (Math-focused), a Math Coach to support academic progress in Grades 3-5, and an elementary level STEAM teacher.

The proposed budget would add a Dean of Students or Associate Principal (TBD) at the elementary level, establishing a new leadership structure now that Pre-K to Grade 5 will be under one roof. Also, a Kindergarten teaching position may be added to maintain recommended class sizes (based on enrollment). If this position is not needed, the funds would be allocated for a second School Resource Officer.

Not only is this budget designed to maintain our ongoing progress toward Destination Graduation, but to expand our focus to be “Destination Graduation...to Occupation.” Whether a student goes to college, enlists in the military or goes directly into the workforce after high school graduation, all paths ultimately lead to an occupation.

Therefore, the spending plan would continue to support and expand programs focused on college preparation and career readiness throughout the district. For example, we would begin working with the non-profit organization AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) to foster college and career readiness across all grade levels. The student-centered approach provides relevant professional development as well as classroom resources that align with state learning standards and the District’s commitment to placing students on a pathway toward a rewarding occupation.

The budget would also expand the nationally acclaimed Camp Invention summer program, which is coming to Hudson for the first time this July. The budget helps to offset the cost for district families, reducing the total registration fee by more than $100 per child. Camp Invention is currently open to 40 students in Grades 3-5, however if the budget is approved the program could be opened to other elementary grades and the number of slots could be increased.

In addition to voting on the proposed budget, residents will also consider a proposition to fund a Repair Reserve that was established last year and elect two members to the Board of Education. Please exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 from noon to 9 p.m. at your designated polling location.

To learn more about the above programs and other items included in the 2018-19 proposed spending plan, please visit www.hudsoncityschooldistrict.com/budget.