Pine Plains Board of Ed hosts public hearing for 2017-18 budget


PINE PLAINS — Six adults and five Stissing Mountain High School students, there to fulfill a course requirement, attended the Board of Education (BOE) public hearing for the  2017-18 proposed budget held on Wednesday, May 3.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Michael Goldbeck in an overview of the budget said the total is $31,609,279 with a 3.97 percent increase of $1,206,475. The tax levy is $22,549,551, a 2.29 percent increase or $504,966. 

While the tax levy is more than 2 percent, Goldbeck emphasized that it does not exceed the allowable levy limit and is equal to the tax cap of 2.29 percent. 

When the proposed budget was being developed, Goldbeck noted there were several factors to consider, including salary negotiations, health insurance, revenue issues and costs for students with special needs. Under the budget’s significant priorities, Goldbeck explained that the 2017-18 budget enables the district to maintain and expand all programs, such as kindergarten through 12th grade academics, a full-day pre-kindergarten program, the China Exchange Program, technology in the junior and senior high school and a district-wide k-through-12, one-to-one computer initiative. 

“We’re required to present the budget in three components, including administrative, program and capital,” Goldbeck said. 

The administration component for 2017-18 totaled at $3,461,990 with a 2.66 percent change from 2016-17 of $87,099. Additionally the program component came to $25,145,514 with a 4.64 percent change of $1,075,086 and the capital component was $3,001,775 with a 1.5 percent change of $44,290.

Under the administrative budget, administration and improvements contributed to the budget’s largest costs at $1,424,341, succeeded by employee benefits at $893,991 and central administration and finance costs at $660,943. 

For the program budget, Goldbeck discussed the overall reduction in salaries due to retirement and the large increase in employee benefits. Employee benefits were calculated as the highest cost at $8,227,100, followed by teaching at the regular school costs at $7,316,252 and special education costs at $3,852,825. The largest percentage change in the program budget was under occupational education at 34.75 percent, while the greatest decrease was found in the teaching regular school costs at $24,385.

Under the capital budget, Goldbeck noted the board intends to have a reduction in the cafeteria program. At $1,889,745, operations and maintenance lead the capital budget in addition to employee benefits at $867,030.

Under the proposed budget of $31,609,279, the projected true value rate is $13.49 per $1,000 of assessed value, marking a 2.29 percent increase from 2016-17. Goldbeck noted that when using the true value tax rate and the 2016-17 assessment data, a district taxpayer with a $100,000 home would expect to pay $1,349 in school taxes for 2017-18, which would be a $30 increase above 2016-17. 

The annual budget vote was held Tuesday, May 16. In addition to voting for the 2017-18 budget, voters weighed in on auditorium/gymnasium capital project referendum, the bus purchase referendum and the election of two Board of Education seats. James Griffin and Karen S. Orton, both incumbents, are the only two candidates running.

Look for results in next week’s issue.