South Orangetown Central School District

Budget FAQ

2023-24 Budget At a Glance

Tax levy increase: 2.08%*
Total budget-to-budget increase: 7.15%
Operation budget-to-budget increase (not counting $1.7M transfer): 5.47%
Total budget: $108,815,021

*The proposed tax levy increase remains within the New York State tax cap for 2023-24. The District has remained within the tax cap every year since it went into effect in 2012.

What’s in the budget for kids?

The proposed 2023-24 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 with additions of classes at CLE and SOMS 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​.

What’s driving the budget-to-budget increase?

There are two components contributing to the budget-to-budget increase:

  • Rising costs: Key items such as transportation (↑ 13%), health insurance (↑ 12%), gas (↑ 45%) and electric expenses (↑ 44%) account for approximately three-quarters of the budget-to-budget increase. Rising costs alone translate to a 5.47% budget-to-budget increase.
  • Budget transfers: Although budget transfers do not impact the tax levy, they are recorded as expenditures. The transfer of $1.7M from the District’s Fund Balance (savings) to its Capital Reserve Fund accounts for the remaining 1.68% budget-to-budget increase.

What is the $1.7M transfer to the Capital Reserve Fund for?

The District intends to transfer $1.7M from its Fund Balance to its Capital Reserve Fund to renovate the remaining eight classrooms at William O. Schaefer Elementary School not included in the Capital Improvements Bond project. This work will be folded into the Capital Improvements Bond work at WOS.

How is the District paying for 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

Does the budget include funding for minor capital projects?

Yes. The proposed budget includes the annual $2.0M allocation to support ongoing maintenance of District facilities. Summer 2024 minor capital projects are:

  • Installation of a new clock/public address/lockdown system at William O. Schaefer Elementary School
  • Security camera upgrades and additions district-wide
  • South Orangetown Middle School Nurse’s suite upgrade for ADA compliance and isolation room

What is SOCSD doing to contain costs?

The proposed 2023-24 budget reflects roughly $1M in cuts achieved through the reduction of 6.5 FTE positions due to attrition, evaluation and streamlining of software licenses and trimming of the facilities budget.

  • Expenditures and revenues are carefully monitored year-round to:
    • meet the operational needs of the District;
    • maximize efficiency
    • ensure long-term financial stability;
    • and, minimize the overall burden on taxpayers.
  • Additional methods we use to contain costs include:
    • Evaluating each position to determine whether or not it needs to be filled as staff members retire;
    • Competitive bidding;
    • Cooperative purchasing allows SOCSD to stretch its resources by partnering with other districts to increase purchasing volume, resulting in lower prices due to economies of scale;
    • Participation in an energy purchasing service and Workers’ Compensation Consortium;
    • Utilization of BOCES programs and services, including special education and technology, which enables SOCSD to save money by pooling resources and sharing costs with other county school districts;
    • Outsourcing services, such as food service, transportation and cleaning, rather than adding staffing, which would increase salary, health insurance and retirement benefit costs; and,
    • Purchasing and use of software to streamline middle and high school student scheduling.

What happens if the budget is voted down?

The Board of Education may put forward the same of 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 budget twice, SOCSD must adopt a contingency budget which would cut the 2023-24 proposed budget by:

  • Eliminating minor capital projects
  • Eliminating all equipment expenditures not related to safety
  • Restricting community use of facilities

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

The District maintains a dedicated email address for budget-related questions. Just email your questions to