South Orangetown Central School District

Budget Vote & Board Election

Annual Budget Vote and Board Election Results

The South Orangetown Central School District 2022-2023 school budget passed with 67% of the vote on May 17. The approved budget totals $101,554,865 and reflects a 3.41% budget-to-budget increase and a 2.77% tax levy increase. The budget remains within the state-mandated tax cap.

Voters also approved Proposition #2, which extends the time period for the District’s existing Capital Reserve Fund by 10 years (through 2036) and increases the ultimate amount of the Fund by $10,000,000 to offset future capital projects.

Steven Finn and Dave Sansone were elected to the Board of Education. Their three-year terms begin July 1, 2022 and conclude June 30, 2025.

The unofficial* Board election results are as follows:

Seat 1
Daniel Lamadrid: 1,395
Steven Finn: 1,423

Seat 2
Dave Sansone: 1,439
Cara Stepanian: 1,408

*The Rockland County Board of Elections certifies the results of school district votes and board elections

Budget Resources

2022-23 Budget Newsletter (English | Spanish)
Budget Calendar
Board of Education 2022-23 Proposed Budget Presentation (April 19, 2022)
2022-23 Proposed Budget Book
2022-23 School District Budget Notice
2022-23 Property Tax Report Card

Frequently-Asked Questions

What has SOCSD done to contain costs while maintaining high-quality educational programming and supports for students?

A: The District carefully monitors expenditures and revenues to ensure that it has the resources it needs for all students to be successful, while maximizing efficiency, reducing the overall burden on taxpayers and ensuring long-term financial stability. Ongoing cost-saving measures include competitive bidding and cooperative purchasing; participation in an energy purchasing service and Workers’ Compensation Consortium; utilization of BOCES cooperative services, including special education and technology; and, outsourcing services, such as food service, transportation, cleaning and landscaping.

Further, as enrollment declined between 2009-2020, the District realized substantial staffing reductions primarily due to attrition. This helped to contain staffing costs, which comprise the majority share of any school budget. More recently, the District has leveraged COVID-19 relief funds to address student needs and made targeted, structural reductions to areas such as supplies, materials and select contractual expenses to mitigate rising retirement, health insurance and transportation costs, which account for $2 million–nearly 60% of the 2022-23 budget-to-budget increase.

What causes the budget to increase each year despite the District’s cost containment efforts?

Staffing–salary and benefits–comprises more than 70 percent of our school district budget each year. Increases in health insurance and retirement benefits are key drivers of budget increases, as are rising transportation costs. In fact, increases in retirement, health insurance, and transportation expenses total more than $2 million – almost 60 percent of the budget-to-budget increase this year.

In addition, the District is seeing increased demand for student supports, such as mental health and special education services. Based on utilization trends, the District is projecting a six percent increase in students eligible for special education services (grades K-12) and a 23 percent increase in children ages two to four who qualify for preschool special education services in 2022-23.

What is Proposition #2 about?

Capital reserve funds are created with voter approval and must be used by a school district within a certain time period for capital work. School districts use these savings to reduce the tax impact of needed major capital projects on their communities and to decrease interest and other costs for bond issuance.

If approved, Proposition #2 would extend the time period for the District’s existing Capital Reserve Fund by 10 years (through 2036) and increase the ultimate amount of the Fund by $10 million to offset future capital projects. The Capital Reserve Fund currently totals $19.4 million; however, $18 million was allocated by voter approval in March to partially fund the 2022 Capital Improvement Bond Project. Proposition #2 would allow the District to replenish its savings over the next several years by being fiscally prudent and capturing savings to the extent possible from the annual general budget.

Will the 2022 Capital Improvements Bond project impact the tax levy for the 2022-23 school year?

No. The 2022 Capital Improvements Bond project will not impact taxpayers during the 2022-23 budget year. The $49.9 million voter-approved project includes $18 million from the District’s Capital Reserve Fund. These monies will be applied to project costs first–before the $31.9 million bond is used.

Is the proposed tax levy increase within the cap?

Yes. The South Orangetown Central School District Board of Education has remained within the tax levy limit every year since the property tax cap law went into effect in 2012.

One component in New York State’s tax levy limit formula is the Allowable Levy Growth Factor, which is limited to the lesser of 2% or the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year, the change in CPI is 4.7%. In addition, the tax levy limit formula allows for capital exclusions which reflect the year-over-year change in capital spending from previously budgeted funds, but not from capital reserves or fund balance. Capital exclusions are increased for 2022-23, which contributes to a higher maximum tax levy limit while remaining within the tax cap.

Can you explain what the tax cap, CPI and the tax levy are?

New York State passed legislation which went into effect in 2012 to regulate property taxes levied by school districts and local governments.

An accounting formula–the Levy Limit Formula–was developed by the Office of the State Comptroller for school districts to calculate the maximum allowable amount of property taxes that can be billed (the tax levy) to fund their annual budgets.

A key feature of the legislation–and the formula–is the “tax cap,” which limits the annual increase in the amount billed to either two percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year. There are some exceptions built into the formula for items such as capital expenditures that allow the tax levy increase to exceed two percent but remain within the maximum allowable levy limit.

Individual property tax bills are based on a number of factors, such as property assessments and equalization rates, which may cause them to increase more than two percent.

What happens if voters reject the budget?

If voters do not approve the proposed budget, the Board of Education may put forward the same or a revised budget for a second vote OR adopt a contingency budget with a tax levy no greater than what was levied last year. If voters reject the spending plan twice, SOCSD must adopt a contingency budget which would require the District to reduce the 2022-23 proposed budget by $2,313,935. As a result, the minor capital project amount of $2,000,000 and all district-wide equipment expenditures would be eliminated. Community use of facilities would be restricted, support staff and instructional positions would be reduced, along with various athletic and extraclassroom activities.

PUBLIC NOTICE

SOCSD American Rescue Plan (ARP)/Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act Funding Proposal
Posted July 1, 2021
As stated during the 2021-22 budget presentation, the District has been allocated $3,696,781 from the SOCSD American Rescue Plan (ARP)/ Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. This is a grant-funded program better known as the ARP/CRRSA ESSER Monies. The District will be spending these funds based on the draft plan that was previously presented to parents and community members. The majority of this grant is targeted to provide services and supports to students to address learning loss and regression and mental health at all four schools. These supports will run in the summer and throughout the school year and allow every student an opportunity to participate.

  • The District has specifically targeted monies to provide additional support for students in the area of reading at the elementary levels.
  • The District is also looking to provide ongoing access to the new instructional tools that students learned to use and found highly engaging, including those for social emotional learning.
  • SOCSD is also seeking to recoup monies expended related to COVID-19 including, but not limited to, cost of required health and safety training, contact tracing, daily screening tools, cleaning supplies and provision of free school meal service.
  • The District will also recoup monies incurred by purchasing technology equipment for staff and students.
  • The ARP/CRSSA GEER monies are targeted to:
    • Provide direct support for academic needs at the secondary level through the creation of a student academic support center where students can drop in to request assistance at any time during the day. This will be partnered with the new Tappan Zee High School Counseling Center.
    • To provide additional reading support at the secondary level.
    • To expand fall/spring learning institutes.
Activities authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act    $300,000.00
Resources necessary for individual schools      $24,000.00
Activities to address students in need of additional support      $20,424.00
Supplies to clean and sanitize the facilities    $200,000.00
Mental health services      $62,150.00
Summer learning and enrichment activities    $211,000.00
Academic activities to address lost instructional time      $50,000.00
Projects to enhance indoor air quality    $360,000.00
  $1,227,574.00

Public comment on the proposed use of ARP funding ended on August 20, 2021; CRRSA/ESSER and GEER 2 funds ended on June 15, 2021.

Polling Locations

Annual Budget Vote & Board of Education Election
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
7AM-9PM

District #1: Blauvelt residents
South Orangetown Middle School
160 Van Wyck Road, Blauvelt
*Note: Please park in the Erie Street lot and follow signage for voting.

District #2: Orangeburg residents
Tappan Zee High School
15 Dutch Hill Road, Orangeburg

District #3: Tappan residents
William O. Schaefer Elementary School
140 Lester Drive, Tappan
*Note: Please park in the rear lot (entrance on Washington Avenue); voters will enter directly into the cafeteria.

District #4: Grandview, Palisades,
Piermont & Sparkill residents
Tappan Zee Education Center
(formerly Tappan Zee Elementary School)
561 Route 9W, Piermont

For additional voting information, click here. Questions regarding the budget vote, including absentee ballots, should be directed to District Clerk Kathy Muscari via email ([email protected]) or phone (845) 680-1012.