Creating the annual school budget is arguably the most challenging work the Board of Education has to do each year.
Proposing a plan that meets the needs of our students while not over-burdening our taxpayers becomes more difficult with each successive year. In light of those challenges, the Forestville Central School Board of Education is proud to announce this year's budget meets the needs of our students, faculty and staff while falling within the parameters of the New York State Tax Cap Legislation. The 2014-15 Forestville school budget proposal is built around a tax levy increase of only 1.51 percent. This small, but necessary increase is arrived at with the help of reserve money saved - for this reason from previous year's budgets - which the district planned to use this year to offset our anticipated expenses.
We have also factored in minimal staff and/or program cuts that, combined with the use of reserves, allow us to present a very conservative and fiscally responsible budget to our community.
Some of this year's budget highlights include:
It preserves the current level of academic programs, student services and extracurricular activities.
Includes conservative use of reserve funds while maintaining the long-term financial integrity of the school district.
Persists in limiting spending and improving efficiencies.
Continues ongoing plan to integrate innovative technology into the classrooms.
Supports curriculum enhancements.
Promotes partnership with neighboring districts for educational collaborations and shared services.
Incorporates a long-range facilities improvement and building security plan.
To put this budget in perspective it is helpful to note that an average taxpayer with a $100,000 home would see an increase of approximately $19 over last year's tax bill. We do not take this increase lightly and we understand that it is not only the school district that faces fiscal challenges, but the members of our community as well! That is why we have worked hard to keep the tax increase as low as possible.
We also understand that a school tax bill is not the only tax bill that property owners must pay. Other local taxes put a strain on family budgets and we want you to know that we are doing our part to keep your overall tax burden as low as possible. The school district can only control the school tax levy. Other local taxes (county, town and village) are beyond our control and have nothing to do with the amount of money we have to operate the school system. While other taxing entities may face their own unique challenges, we want you to know that the school system is working hard to minimize the financial impact on district residents. We have made a practice of wise fiscal management and have a long-range financial plan that will enable us to move forward without imposing excessive tax increases.
Thank you for your continued support of the Forestville Central School District.
Sylvester Cleary is the Board of Education president for the Forestville Central Schools.