The South Orangetown Central School District’s annual school budget vote and Board of Education elections will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 7:00AM-9:00PM.
At its April 18 meeting, the Board of Education unanimously adopted the 2023-24 school budget, which totals $108,815,021 and reflects a 7.15% budget-to-budget increase and remains within the tax cap with a 2.08% tax levy increase. The proposed budget:
- maintains high-quality programs, services and staffing to meet the needs of all students, including growing populations of Special Education students and English Language Learners;
- further expands District-based special education classes to keep more students with special needs in-district;
- maintains current transportation services (first year of a three-year contract), including late buses at SOMS and TZHS and field trip, extracurricular and athletics busing;
- enhances security staffing at all four schools and includes safety and security camera upgrades and additions at all buildings;
- provides 40 seats for career and technical education programs;
- enables rolling technology refreshes for 1:1 student devices and teacher laptops (K-12);
- sustains K-12 extracurricular and enrichment programming, including Summer STEAM Camp; and,
- expands intramural (SOMS) and interscholastic sports (SOMS/TZHS) based on student demand.
Two components are driving budget growth: rising costs and budget transfers. Rising costs for key items, such as transportation, health insurance and gas and electric, translate to a 5.47% budget-to-budget increase for 2023-24. Although budget transfers do not impact the tax levy, they are recorded as expenditures. A transfer of $1.7M from the District’s Fund Balance, or savings, to its Capital Reserve Fund accounts for the remaining 1.68% of the budget-to-budget increase.
The 7.15% budget-to-budget increase translates to $7,260,156, which will be funded as follows:
- $1.70M (23%) – transfer of existing funds from Fund Balance to the Capital Reserve
- $2.41M (33%) – State Aid increase
- $1.79M (25%) – tax levy increase of 2.08%
- $1.36M (19%) – other revenues, including increased interest earnings, rental income and prior year refund and Continuing Education tuitions
Over the course of the budget development process, the District trimmed expenses by $1M through the reduction of 6.5 FTE positions due to attrition, evaluation and streamlining of software licenses and trimming of the facilities budget.
The Board of Education will host its public budget hearing on Tuesday, May 9 at 7:30PM in the South Orangetown Middle School Library. Community members may ask questions regarding the budget at this meeting.
The ballot will include an election for two Board of Education seats. The candidates’ names, in the order they will appear on the ballot, are:
Seat 1: Katie Gravino and Leon Jacobs (incumbent)
Seat 2: Dawn Kitz and Diana Korabel
The South Orangetown PTAs and Tappan Zee High School Youth & Government Club will co-host a Meet the Board Candidates Forum on Wednesday, April 26, at 7:30PM, in the South Orangetown Middle School Auditorium. The organizers invite students, staff, families and community members to submit questions in advance via this Google Form. Please refer to the SOCES PTA, SOMS PTA and TZHS PTSA Facebook pages for additional information.