HORNELL – The top administrators of the Hornell City school district plan to provide the school board with a budget that does not include an increase in the tax.
Spending on the 2021-22 budget is also unlikely to differ much from the Hornell voters’ plan of $ 39,945,095 approved last June, Superintendent Jeremy P. Palotti said at a February 3 school council meeting.
While the administrators compose the budget, the district plans “practically flat-rate year-to-year spending,” according to a budget development document for 2021-22 presented to the school board at last week’s meeting.
If Hornell Schools Board approves the recommendation not to increase the tax levy, the amount raised through local property taxes for the upcoming budget will be $ 7,279,976 – just like last year.
In terms of taxes, the district is already limited to how much it can raise the levy – even if it wanted to – and stay within the tax cap. Patrick Flaitz, Hornell’s business official, said the district’s state tax cap for the 2021-22 budget is less than 1 percent.
According to the New York State School Boards Association, the state’s real estate tax limitation law sets a tax limit for each school district. The tax cap allows school districts to increase their property tax levy by 2 percent year-to-year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, based on a multi-tier formula.
“The district has been able to maintain a flat budget year on year and not increase the tax levy, largely due to the Bryant Elementary School closing for 2021-22,” Palotti said in a statement to The Spectator. “In planning for this, the district cut staff throughout the year, mainly through wear and tear. That means we made some vacancies that we filled with temporary positions to avoid layoffs.”
The district expects to save at least $ 550,000 annually from closing the elementary school after the school board approved the closure last week. The school will close after June 30, 2021.
“This is an important contribution that enables us not to seek a tax hike and almost no budget-to-budget increase,” said Palotti.
More:Hornell BOE approves Bryant School closure. Here’s what to know
He added, “The district recognizes that the impact of the pandemic on the community has been significant and is grateful that we are able to make these significant adjustments to our budget and operations that will allow us to maintain our programs and at the same time reducing what would otherwise have been an increase in the budget and tax. “
Under the state budget proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Foundation Aid remains at last year’s levels and Hornell is expected to receive $ 18,996,564 in funding. This aid is the largest category of funding and is used by the districts for the day-to-day running of schools.
Complicating the picture of foundation aid is the fact that the executive budget replicates a practice the governor’s office began last year to group several categories of aid under foundation aid.
Total aid to Hornell under the gubernatorial plan is $ 32,293,236, including approximately $ 1.4 million in COVID-19 stimulus funds.
There are questions about help and costs that have yet to be answered, Palotti said. The superintendent noted that state legislation has yet to burden education spending. The legislature is ultimately responsible for approving a final state budget. In the past year, state and federal grants made up around 75 percent of the district’s revenue.
In addition, the superintendent said that BOCES ‘spending and income budgets are still unknown. Palotti said the administration expected to provide more detailed budget details at the school board’s meeting in March.
In addition to a budget proposal for 2021-22, on May 18, voters will decide whether the district will sell Bryant Elementary School to Park Grove Realty, and district residents will elect three people to the Hornell School Board.