A Message from Superintendent Pero: Proposed 2019-20 Budget is Under the Tax Cap despite Declining State Aid

The 2019-20 budget reflects the District’s commitment to addressing emerging priorities that include mental health, safety and inclusivity. As NYS school districts deal with budgets that are restricted by the NYS Tax Cap and diminishing state aid, prudent financial planning and trade-offs resulted in the preservation of the breadth of the PCSD program.

NYS has been a point of our advocacy as we do not believe the formulas are run fairly. Aid continues to be distributed in a disproportionate manner across the state, without considerations to adjustments in student enrollment. Districts with declining enrollment continue to receive aid for more students than are actually attending. PCSD becomes further hindered as the state does not recognize the increase in our kindergarten students’ attendance from a half day of school to a full day. These factors result in a substantial loss of aid per pupil.

Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation

The budget is an unusually low increase of 0.11% because the implementation costs for full-day kindergarten in the 2018-19 budget were removed from the 2019-20 proposed budget. During the 2019- 20 budget cycle, full-day kindergarten will receive its second year of conversion aid as well as the first year of the 25% declining balance. We are removed from the reliance of Fund Balance and Reserves to support full-day kindergarten, as promised.

Other NYS State Aid

The total of all 2019-20 categorical state aid, including building aid, represents a 1.19% decrease in aid from the 2018-19 approved budget. Building aid on the 2012 Capital Project is more favorable than originally estimated, and debt payments are lower than projected providing a savings over the next 15 years. The 2012 Capital Project finished on time, under budget and all scope work completed with some beneficial enhancements.

Fiscal Health Recognized

A recent review by Moody’s Investor Service gave PCSD an “Aa1” rating. This exceptional rating, according to Moody’s, was in response to PCSD’s strong financial operations which are supported by conservative budgeting practices. Being ranked so favorably affords PCSD additional efficiencies that will support programming and address the need for increased services in the areas of mental health, safety and security.

What’s on the Ballot?

2019-20 School Budget

A proposed budget of $136,689,421 – within the NYS Tax Cap and preserves current programming.

Two Propositions

Authorization to purchase nine replacement buses, per the District replacement schedule, at a cost of no more than $1,021,349 from the existing capital reserve fund (savings account). The proposition will NOT result in new taxes. Using reserves for this purchase will generate approximately $650,000 in State Aid to replenish the account.

Authorization to withdraw from the “General Capital Reserve Fund” a sum of money, not to exceed $3,000,000, for the partial replacement of the roofs at Barker Road Middle School and Park Road Elementary School, the replacement of the fuel farm storage at the Transportation facility and other incidental work associated with said projects consistent with the established purpose of such Fund (savings account). This proposition will NOT result in new taxes and will generate state aid.

Two seats for the Board of Education

Three candidates are running for two seats.

Residents will be voting on the proposed budget on May 21, 2019, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Barker Road Middle School gymnasium. For additional information, visit the budget page of the District website.