On Tuesday, June 9, Weedsport Central School District residents will vote via absentee ballot on a proposed $20,295,324 budget for the 2020-21 school year. The proposed budget has a spending decrease of $666,038, or 3.18 percent, and will result in a tax levy increase of 1.99 percent, an increase that falls below the district’s legal limit as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation.
In an executive order issued on May 1, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election will take place exclusively by absentee ballots due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. All registered voters in Weedsport will receive self-addressed stamped ballots in the mail, which must be signed and returned by 5 p.m. on June 9 to count.
New provisions in the state budget have contributed to uncertainty for school districts as they budget for the 2020-21 school year. The provisions include three periodic reviews of state revenue that could result in additional aid cuts.
Weedsport projects an additional reduction of about $425,000 (or 7 percent) in state foundation aid from 2019-20 to 2020-21. To help balance this loss in revenue, three full-time and four part-time teaching positions will be eliminated, as well as a clerical and custodial position. Also, three vacated positions – including one administrative position – will not be filled and three teaching positions will be reduced to part-time.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the district’s state aid during the budget development process, district leaders focused on keeping a strong educational program in place, offering students the supports they need when they come back to school, and being mindful of the financial concerns of taxpayers.
“We have to address the academic, physical, and wellness needs of all of our students so they can return to some sense of normalcy when they come back,” said Superintendent Shaun A. O’Connor.
“Meanwhile, reducing our staff is not what we wanted to do, but that is a direct result of our projected loss of state aid. We also have to be mindful of our taxpayers, and for the ninth year in a row, the district is putting out a budget that keeps the tax levy increase under 2 percent.”
Other propositions on the ballot
- On June 9, voters will also decide on a proposition to purchase one school bus at a cost not to exceed $120,000.
- A second proposition on the ballot will ask voters to allow the district to collect $83,096 on behalf of the Weedsport Public Library. State education law allows public libraries to place a funding proposition on a school district ballot and use district tax collection mechanisms.
- Residents will also elect one Board of Education member to a five-year term. Incumbent Norm Chirco is running unopposed.