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RCS budget, bus proposition adopted by voters

May 16, 2018 09:23 am

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — On Tuesday, May 15, voters headed to the polls and approved the $47.7 million budget for the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District.

The bus proposition was also adopted, and three incumbents on the board of education were re-elected to another term.

The budget for the RCS Community Library, which was voted on Tuesday as well, was also approved.

The $47,738,365 budget for the 2018-19 school year was approved by a margin of 549 votes in favor and 338 opposed, according to district officials.

It includes a 2.68 percent tax levy increase, which falls within the allowable tax cap for the year. The tax cap, mandated by New York state, fluctuates each year and is dependent on a complex formula that includes factors such as the tax base and state aid.

The approved budget includes an increase in total spending of $1,908,942, or 4.17 percent compared to the 2017-18 school year.

There are no cuts in either staff or programming, but some staff members will be reallocated to address changing district needs, District Superintendent Dr. Brian Bailey said at a recent budget presentation.

“The budget continues all current programs and services, and enhances school security, increases instructional support for at-risk students, and offers better mental health and social-emotional supports for all students,” according to a statement released by the district after the vote.

Among other additions, the budget includes the purchase of an additional 250 devices for use by students — such as iPads — with the district holding the line and allocating the same amount for that purchase, $275,000, as was expended last year.

The budget also allows for the creation of a 10-week high school summer “boot camp,” designed for at-risk struggling eighth graders to better prepare them for high school.

Of the total budget, $25.4 million is raised by property taxes — the largest contributor to the budget — with $18.5 million coming from state aid and smaller amounts generated by local PILOT programs (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), debt reserves, local revenue and fund balance, the district’s business manager, Joanne Moran, explained at the budget presentation earlier this month.

For a homeowner with a property valued at $150,000, the tax levy will be an average school tax increase of about $81.

Meanwhile, voters also approved the bus proposition that was on the ballot by a margin of 566-316.

The bus proposition allows the district to purchase six new buses as part of its maintenance and replacement plan, according to a district statement. More than half of the cost of the purchase will come from state aid.

“The state will reimburse the district for approximately 57 percent of the purchase cost,” according to the district’s statement.

The three members of the RCS Board of Education who were up for re-election were returned to the board.

Board member Kristin Hill-Burns was the highest vote getter with 664 votes, Howard Engel III received 585 votes and Edward Reville had 483 votes.

The RCS Community Library budget vote was held Tuesday as well, and was approved overwhelmingly by voters with 636 in favor and 248 opposed, with 72 percent voting to adopt the budget.

The two library trustees up for re-election were returned to office. Trustees Laurel Dickerson received 685 votes and Sheila Schwartz received 686 votes.