The following is a press release from the Cortland Enlarged City School District (Superintendent Robert J. Edwards):
During our Board of Education meeting today our Board approved a revised budget plan to go forward to our voters on June 20, 2023. Details about that vote will be coming out in the weeks ahead.
In the meeting today Kris Williamson, our Business Administrator, presented numbers related to the revised proposal. Our new budget proposal will be at our tax levy cap of 1.89%. In order for the proposal to be passed it will require a simple majority vote, 50% plus 1. If approved, the projected tax rate will be $15.69 which will be an 11 cent per thousand increase.
The timeline for our work will include a June 6 public notice, a June 13 public notice and Budget Hearing, and the Budget Vote on June 20. The above information is captured in the slide deck that I have attached and that can be found on our website.
Our proposal to go out at the 1.89% tax cap levy required 1 million dollars of reductions. There is no easy way to go about that work. During the past number of days I asked our Leadership Team to wrestle with this difficult task and ultimately used their input for consultation only. It is my responsibility to make the final determinations. Today at the Board of Education meeting I showed the list of positions that we have informed about the reduction.
Those reductions are:
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
ELA - High School
Math - High School
Special Education Teacher
Transportation Administrative Assistant
I asked members of the leadership team to carry out the difficult conversations with those staff members. All of those conversations have happened at this point. This represents one million dollars of reductions. It is difficult for a staff to go through this, as these are reductions in staff and every single person on our staff impacts our students. We've just reduced our impact on students. I'm not sure there is another way to communicate this to our voters. This has been difficult. I expect that our staff will rally, like we always do, to step up and continue to provide great opportunities and experiences for our students. And although next budget season seems like a long way away, I expect that we will need to again propose an override to the tax levy I because this proposal, at this year's tax levy cap of 1.89%, with another tax rate lower than what our community paid going back to 2013, does not help us move forward in a sustainable way. If I had any wish for our community it would be that I become better at helping our voters know how much we need them to invest in our teachers and staff in the future. Our school district will continue to experience reduction in opportunities for students and fiscal stress if we continue to build budgets based around the need to go over the limitations imposed on school districts by New York State Law and without help from our voters to achieve a supermajority vote.
I plan to have an update each week leading up to the June 20th Budget Vote.
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The Cortland Voice will provide updates on this in the future.