FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
Dear District Residents,
The purpose of this document is to provide the taxpayers of the Copenhagen Central School District with an overview of the proposed school budget for 2022-2023.
The 2022-2023 proposed school budget is $11,985,523, an increase of $310,601, or 2.66%. We are proposing a tax levy increase of 1.0%, or $17,885. We are able to balance the budget by appropriating $766,529 of fund balance. Please refer to the budget information of this document to see a comparison of the tax levy trends for the past fifteen years. We would like to use the remainder of this document to explain highlights of the next fiscal year budget.
This year, similar to last year, has continued to be very unique for all of us given the global COVID-19 pandemic. While other districts continued remote or hybrid education models, our district has gone to great lengths to ensure students remained in our school safely, have had access to social-emotional support, and continue to receive educational instruction at the school building.
The economic and logistical effects of the pandemic continue to be turbulent. As many of you are very aware, the majority of the revenue of the district is New York State and Federal aid. Federal legislation has infused an unprecedented amount of cash flow into education in an attempt to address targeted initiatives, such as learning loss and social/emotional stress due to the pandemic. We have applied these funds in multiple places to support such initiatives. For example, we opted to increase instructional staff head counts to reduce class sizes, ensuring our students could be educated in person. We continue to strategically plan expenditures of these funds to maintain a safe, healthy educational environment for our students, staff and community. Due to the finite end of this temporary aid, we also continue to build our budget responsibly, so as to not plan on these funds into perpetuity.
Another budgeting component that is important to be aware of is New York State’s property tax cap law, which establishes a tax levy limit for each school district. The tax levy limit allows school districts to increase their property tax levy from one year to the next by two percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, based on a multi-step formula. In the multi-step formula, school districts must apply inclusions and exclusions into the formula, which may boost the district tax levy limits to more than two percent or the inflation rate. However, such inclusions and exclusions may also reduce the tax cap of the district to figures that are not sustainable or realistic to implement. If a school district’s proposed tax levy increase is within its calculated limit, a simple majority (50% or more) of voters is needed for budget approval. If a school district’s proposed tax levy increase exceeds the tax levy limit, a supermajority of voters (60% or more) would be required for budget approval.
The tax cap this year is -3.07%. This negative percentage is expected, and was planned for, as a result of an influx of revenue from the Number 3 Wind Farm PILOT Agreement. This unique circumstance is similar to the instance in the 2019-2020 district budget proposal, when the district realized the influx of revenue from the Copenhagen Wind Farm PILOT Agreement.
If this negative percentage was to be applied to the district tax levy for this budget, it would represent a -$54,800 in lost revenue, thus negatively impacting programs for our district students. As a result, the district is requesting your support to override the calculated tax cap and allow us to continue to expand curriculum and program offerings to students. We are asking you to support this budget proposal, which will require a 60% supermajority to pass.
In summary, our school district and the Copenhagen community continues to be resilient and persevere in this difficult time. Per Governor Hochul’s signed legislation (S.50001/A.40001) regarding virtual and public meetings, the District has the option to once again hold meetings in-person. With that said, the 2022-2023 Annual Budget Review meeting will be held on May 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. in the school cafeteria. There will be a chance to ask questions during that time. The budget vote and election will take place at school on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. in the gym foyer. If you would like an absentee ballot, please notify the District Clerk.
If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 315-688-4411.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
COPENHAGEN CENTRAL SCHOOL
2022 - 2023 BUDGET DOCUMENT