Budget Information to be Mailed to Voters Week of May 3
On Tuesday, May 18th, Marcellus Central School District residents will vote on the district’s proposed $38,456,593 budget for the 2021-22 school year. The budget calls for a 1.6% increase in spending over 2020-21 and carries a 1.74% tax levy increase, which is also our calculated property tax levy cap this year. Because it complies with the cap, we will need a simple majority to pass our budget for the coming year.
In addition to all of the change and disruption created by the COVID 19 pandemic, it has also created an unusual budget climate for the State of New York. Last year, when the state budget was released, our governor announced that he would be using a series of lookback periods to re-evaluate revenue afforded to schools based on the current state revenue picture. While he began in accordance with that plan, reducing two of our planned state aid payments, he quickly changed course leaving promised state aid intact for most of the current fiscal year.
Budget Notice and Required Attachments
The budget Statement and required attachments must be made available to the public on the school district’s website at least seven days before the Budget Hearing date. Required documents include:
- Required Budget Notice
- Budget Statement – proposed budget
- District Academic Report Card – most recent school academic report cards outlining student performance
- Property Tax Report Card
- District’s Fiscal Accountability Summary
- Salary Disclosure Requirements
- Exemption Reporting for Taxing Jurisdictions – Chapter 258 of the Laws of 2008 added Section 495 to the Real Property Tax Law requiring counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts to attach to their tentative/preliminary budgets an exemption report.
- Fiscal Transparenty Report
Absentee Ballot Information
Those interested in obtaining an absentee ballot for the May 18th budget vote and Board election need to complete an application for an absentee ballot. Qualifying reasons are shown on the application. Executive Order 202.81 expands eligibility to "include the potential for contraction of the virus that causes COVID-19 as an illness for purposes of request or receipt of an absentee ballot." This choice is included under Option A.
Residents can also obtain an application at the district office or by calling (315) 673-6000. Applications must be returned by May 10 if the absentee ballot is to be mailed to the voter or by May 17 if it will be picked up by the voter. Ballots must be returned not later than 5 p.m. May 18 and mailed to:
Assistant to the District Clerk
2 Reed Parkway
Marcellus, NY 13108
Marcellus Share of COVID Relief Bill
According to numbers released by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's office this week, Marcellus is expected to receive nearly $1.2 million as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Specifics about how the money can be used have not been released, but it does appear funds can be accessed over the next four years to help districts recover from the pandemic. For example, funds could be used for technology upgrades, programs to help students recover from loss of learning during the pandemic, or for modifications to our instructional program that could help us transition to remote learning.
"As is typical with Federal funding, strings may be attached to these funds," Superintendent Michelle Brantner said. "Sometimes additional funds are used to offset money that's being taken away. It appears our federal and state legislators want to use these funds for recovery efforts, and not to fund existing programs." The federal money is aimed at helping schools reopen quickly and safely as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Funds are allocated to districts throughout the state based on a federal formula tied to population, and are weighted heavily toward schools with children in poverty, Syracuse.com reported. "We don't have particulars on exactly how allocations were determined," School Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio said. "Senator Schumer's office did provide us with an estimate of just under $1.2 million, but it remains to be seen how we can access these funds and what we can use them for."
At this time district officials are waiting for the NYS legislature to approve its budget, due by April 1st, so that it knows what it can expect in the form of state support for next year. Stay tuned.