May 22, 2013
5 Chelsea Place, Clifton Park, NY 12065 • 518-881-0600
Results of the 2012-13 Budget Exit poll
Thank you to the Shen community for coming out and voting on the school budget, buses, and board candidates. The budget passed by a 69% margin 3,239 Yes to 1,432 No.
That is the highest margin of victory in Shen history. It sends an overwhelming message that you as a community, residents, and the voting public cares about the provision of a high quality education to our students, as well as the leadership, governance, and ultimately the future direction of the district.
The bus proposition passed by a very comfortable margin. Incumbent Board member Janet Grey had the most votes, followed by new member, Robert Pressley. We are pleased to have Mrs. Grey return, serving as a pillar of strength on the board during these interesting times of transition in public education. We are also pleased to welcome Robert Pressley, who brings a certain acumen and experience to help further the vision and mission of the district.
As superintendent, I speak for all employees when I say that we take your confidence in our efforts extremely seriously and will remain steadfast in our commitment to excellence.
The future is indeed a luminous place for our students and, with the continued support of our Shen community, we will continue to help our students realize their preferred dreams.
William Acker 1,820
Janet Grey 3,336
Anthony Morelli 1,808
Robert Pressly 1,980
The 2012-13 Budget Newsletter.
With less than one percent (0.82%) spending increase, the 2012-13 budget is below the official tax levy limit and preserves all programs and services. The proposed budget is $151.5 million. It is estimated that the average tax rate will increase 1.96 percent for district residents. For a property with a market value of $250,000, the increase is approximately $84 in the total tax bill.
• District officials have restructured programs and services in order to counter the current financial environment. These critical changes have led to reductions and implemented cost saving initiatives that will save $4.3 million.
• Four major cost increases to contend with in the 2012-13 budget amounting to $4.8 million total include: health, dental and prescription drug; state-mandated contributions to the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Teacher Retirement System (TRS): contractual salaries; and transportation fuel.
• The proposed budget preserves current programs and services for students and will provide new opportunities for high school students to take Mandarin and, with the purchase of iPads to pilot, will put innovative technologies into the hands of students in select classrooms.
• Using a complicated 8-step formula developed by the Office of the State Comptroller, the new tax levy limit law allows for specific exemptions from the cap. Shen’s maximum allowable tax levy limit is 3.43 percent. The proposed 2012-13 budget would increase the tax levy by 2.88 percent ($478,393 below what the new tax levy limit law allows). While this law is commonly referred to as the “2 percent tax cap,” it does not cap rates for individual tax bills. And, it does not in fact restrict any proposed tax levy increase to two percent.
• Shen’s foundation aid, which is the general aid category that supports programs offered to students and helps mitigate the tax levy increase, has not increased for the past three years and will not increase in 2012-13. The additional state aid to schools announced with the passage of the state budget has been earmarked to reduce the amount of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The GEA was imposed on districts three years ago to help the state with its budget crisis. These funds have not been restored and in fact the reductions will continue for 2012-13. For Shen, this new increase in aid translates to the GEA being reduced from a loss of $6,964,503 to a loss of $6,758,633 in state aid. This is compounded by the elimination of $2.1 million in federal education job funds.
With the new tax levy cap law in effect, the calculation for
contingency budget has changed. If a district fails to get voter
approval twice, it must adopt a contingent budget with NO INCREASE
in the tax levy. In other words, Shenendehowa would have to cut an
additional $3.2 million from its proposed budget which translates
to approximately 70 reductions in positions.
Other aspects of the contingency budget rules would stay the same meaning that all non-contingency expenses must be removed. This includes: student supplies, community use of buildings and grounds, certain equipment purchases and certain salary increases (typically non-contractual increases).
Proposition for Bus Replacement:
In an ongoing effort to keep the bus fleet in safe working condition and decrease maintenance costs, the district is asking residents to consider a proposition that would allow the district to acquire 19 buses.
The bus replacement proposition would cost $1,892,323, of which 63 percent would be reimbursed from state transportation aid and amounts to a 0.17 percent tax rate increase that would not take effect until 2013-14.
Two of the seven seats on the Board of Education are up for election. Each seat carries a three-year term.
• William Acker, of Rexford, is seeking his second term on the board. He is currently employed at New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and a Ph.D. in applied physics and engineering from Yale University. He and his wife have two children who attend Shen.
• Janet Grey, of Clifton Park, is seeking her fourth term on the board. She is currently employed at Grey Insurance and Financial Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from SUNY Oswego. She has also completed post-graduate coursework in human resource management. She and her husband have two children; one attends Shen and one graduated from Shen.
• Anthony Morelli, of Clifton Park, is seeking his first term on the board. He is currently employed at General Electric. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) a MBA degree from George Washington University and a J.D. from Albany Law School. He and his wife have three children; two attend Shen and one is in pre-school.
• Robert Pressly, of Rexford, is seeking his first term on the board. He is currently employed at Momentive Performance Materials and is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He has a bachelor’s degree in Control Systems Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife have two children who attend Shen.
You are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years or
older and have been a Shenendehowa district resident for at least
30 days prior to the vote. No preregistration is required.
Official personal identification with photo is required. It is a
crime to falsify votes (i.e., voting twice, false identification).
Absentee ballots may be used by any resident who will not be available to come to the campus to vote. They are available at the district office, 5 Chelsea Place, Clifton Park. For information, call the district clerk at 881-0623.
Gowana Middle School is located on Shen’s main campus. Enter the campus using the Route 146 entrance, bear left. Gowana is on the right.
At the March 20th Board of Education meeting the administration presented information on the Revenue Analysis, Fund Balance, Debt Service and the Bus Purchase Resolution. Click here to view the Powerpoint presentation. View the video of the Board meeting, March 20, 2012
Two seats on Shenendehowa's Board of Education
are up for election on May 15 each carry a three-year term. The
deadline for petitions is April 16.
Education law requires that a candidate provide a petition signed by at least 122 qualified voters (2% of the number of residents who voted in the last district election). Candidates may pick up petitions at the district clerk's office at 5 Chelsea Place. Petitions must be received by the district clerk no later than 4 p.m. on April 16, 2012. To qualify, candidates must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the district for at least one year prior to the election, and at least 18 years old.
The two candidates with the highest number of votes will serve a three-year term commencing July 1, 2012.
On March 6, the administration presented an analysis of the 2012-13 spending proposal and the Tax Levy Cap. The expenditure plan being proposed for 2012-13 would result in a tax levy BELOW the tax levy cap allowed by law. Click here to view the video of the presentation. Click here to view the powerpoint presentation. Click here to view the official tax levy cap calculation for the district. Also at this meeting a proposal for a referendum was made to replace aging buses. Click here to view the video and click here to view the powerpoint presentation.
The three-year budget forecast and the Tax Levy Cap calculation was presented to the Board of Education at its meeting on January 24. Watch the presentation here .
The assumptions and expectations were presented to the board at the meeting on Tuesday. These outline the key things that will determine what is included in the 2012-13 budget. Click here to view the pdf of the presentation, click here to view the video of the presentation.
For the past year, there has been so much talk
about the property tax cap, contingency budgets, mandate relief
and state funding it is easy to see how people could feel
overwhelmed with information.
In this first year of New York’s property tax cap, information about its provisions and implementation continues to evolve. The district continues to receive further clarifications from the Office of the State Comptroller, Department of Taxation and Finance, State Education Department, Division of the Budget and the governor’s office. Here is what is known to date:
New York’s elected officials have yet to provide schools with meaningful solutions to address the biggest cost drivers in school budgets nor facilitate any significant systemic changes to help school districts rein in costs. The Mandate Relief Committee created by the governor made no significant recommendations to save schools money. So although districts may be restricted as to how much revenue can be raised through taxes, expenses will continue to increase significantly with no real mandate relief in sight.
While the law is commonly referred to as a “2
percent tax cap,” it actually caps the overall tax LEVY, not the
tax RATE. Tax levies are the total amount of dollars collected by
the district. Tax rates are used to compute an individual tax
bill. The law does not cap an individual’s school tax bill. Those
increases are often different from increases in the tax levy due
to a variety of factors outside a school district’s control (i.e.,
equalization rates), and this will continue to be true.
• The capped amount, called the “tax levy limit,” will be calculated by each district according to a very complicated formula outlined in the law. It exempts expenditures related to certain items, including some court orders, some pension costs and local capital expenditures. These exemptions could allow for a levy that is higher than 2% but still within the legal limits of the law.
• In reality, the law does not actually limit the tax levy at all. What it requires is that a proposed budget that carries a tax levy above the “limit” must have a supermajority (60 percent or more of voters) for approval.
The new law further changes and restricts contingency budgets. If a district fails to gain voter approval twice it must adopt a contingent budget with NO increase in the tax levy. It used to limit the spending increase to 120% of CPI or 4 percent (whichever was less).
While there is no word on what will happen
with state aid to schools for the 2012-13 school year,
Shenendehowa has seen a 15.89% decrease in aid since 2009.
&“As with any new and complex education legislation, we expect our understanding of this to evolve as it is implemented,” said Dr. L. Oliver Robinson. “We will do our best to keep you informed. Please stay tuned and stay involved.”
Click here to view pdf of budget development calendar
Superintendent's office at/span>
(518) 881-0610 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding NY's tax levy cap