On Tuesday, May 19, Averill Park Central School District residents will consider a $53,906,501 proposed budget for the 2015-2016 school year. The plan increases spending for the first time in six years by $1,039,316, or 1.97 percent, over the current year. If approved by voters, the budget would result in a 2.25 percent tax levy increase, which stays within the District’s allowable tax levy limit under the state’s tax levy cap legislation. 

Residents will also vote on a school bus purchase and elect two members to the Board of Education. Voting will take place in the Averill Park High School Auxiliary Gym from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The final state budget allocates $19,957,192 in State Aid to Averill Park for 2015-16 – an increase of $1,351,047 over the current year. Included in this increase is a restoration in Gap Elimination Adjustment funding in 2015-16. Program increases are possible for next year due to the increase in state funding combined with a reduction in pension costs for all employees.

“We are pleased to build on the current year’s budget, which maintained programs and staff,” said Superintendent James Hoffman. “In developing the 2015-16 spending plan, we are finally in a position to restore opportunities for students impacted by previous budget cuts and add supports for students.”

The proposed budget includes the following restorations and additions:

  • Restore Full Day Kindergarten by adding 2.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) teachers
  • Restore one librarian position to each building by adding 1.0 FTE Library Media Specialist
  • Restore one music teacher in each elementary school by adding .8 FTE Music Teacher which would provide performances for band, orchestra, and chorus 
  • Restore 1.0 FTE Technology Integration Specialist to insure K-12 alignment of technology curriculum 
  • Restore 1.0 FTE School Psychologist to perform state-mandated evaluations for students with disabilities 
  • Restore funding to the Modified Sports program to eliminate the need for independent fundraising 
  • Add .5 FTE Math Teacher to provide additional time for students in Algebra2/Trigonometry
  • Add 2.0 FTE Curriculum Coaches for math/science and English language arts to insure alignment of curriculum and instructional practice
  • Add new high school courses – Intro to Technology, Theatre for Young People, Sign Language & Deaf Culture, and Biotechnology Lab Internship
  • Add sections of Health instruction at the high school to transition instruction from junior year to sophomore year
  • Expand clubs and activities at all school building levels
  • Create second Distance Learning Classroom to increase opportunities for high school students

“I am very pleased that this budget provides us with three things: Most importantly, it allows us to increase opportunities for our students at all levels,” said Dr. Hoffman. “Secondly, since the budget is within the tax levy cap, and will be able to demonstrate savings through efficiencies, taxpayers will have their tax increase returned to them by the state. Finally, it will enable our district to increase our reserves in order to protect these new programs from being eliminated in the future. It is important to remember to vote on May 19.”

For more information about the proposed budget, and to see what restorations have been made since August 2012, visit the Budget Corner.

Posted May 11, 2015