School plans 3.9 percent tax levy increase
DUNDEE--The Dundee school board met Thursday, March 28 and adopted a proposed $19,073,447 budget for the 2019-'20 school year which includes a 3.9 percent tax levy increase.
Melissa Lawson, Dundee's district business manager, noted the three expense areas increasing the most include: contractual supplies and services, up 8 percent; debt service, up 9 percent and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), up 10.8 percent.
The new budget also proposes to use $499,000 from the school's 2013 bus reserve fund to purchase four new transportation vehicles and then create a new 10-year reserve fund (to be known as the 2019 Bus Purchase Reserve Fund) for a maximum of $2,225,000. The reserve funds can be used for: construction, buses, repairs, insurance, debt, retirement funds, unemployment and taxpayer reductions.
Lawson said the 3.9 percent tax levy is within the 4 percent maximum allowable for Dundee by the state tax formula. In five years (since the 2015-16 school year) the overall school budget has increased by 10.08 percent. Enrollment has dropped by 11.7 percent since 2015-16. Student enrollment was 728 for the 2015-'16 school year and is projected at 643 for 2019-'20. District staffing is projected to be 173 for the coming school year and was 170 in 2015-'16 or a 1.8 percent increase.
Lawson said there are still some variables which prevent her from posting a tax rate for residents from the tax levy but she said this should be decided in the near future. Lawson also said, "For the Dundee budget, just looking at percentages can be misleading since our tax levy is low- so even at 1 percent the additional revenue is only $55,000 for the school."
The timeframe for upcoming dates with the school budget and board candidates includes: distribution of the budget details with the school newsletter April 26, public hearing on the budget May 7, the budget vote and board candidates election May 21. Three people will be elected to serve on the school board. The seats are currently held by Douglas Hammond, Jessica-Shepardson-Wood and Andy Simmons.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. in the school's public meeting room.