Community to weigh 2010-11 budget
Canajoharie Central School District residents will vote May 18 on
a proposed $18,894,140 budget for the 2010-11 school year.
This is a difficult year to develop a budget. New York State’s
fiscal problems have seriously impacted school districts such as
Canajoharie which are heavily dependent on the State for revenue.
Regardless of the State’s fiscal woes, the Board of Education is
committed to presenting a budget to district residents that does not
ask them to shoulder the entire burden caused by the loss of
revenue. In addition, the proposed budget must favorably position
the district to address yet further cuts in school aid when federal
stimulus monies expire in 2011-12. The proposed budget outlined in
this newsletter does just that while preserving the foundation of
our educational programs.
The proposed budget is an increase of .48 percent over the 2009-10
budget. The impact on the tax levy is hard to predict at this time
because we do not know if the state legislature will restore any of
the $428,651 in aid cuts, nor will we know how much fund balance we
will have at the end of the fiscal year to apply against taxes. We
can say this with confidence. The tax levy will not increase by more
than 4.0 percent. Hopefully, it will be less. The district will
leave no stone unturned in searching for savings and efficiencies
while maintaining the best programs for our children.
Questions and Answers
Q. How is the school district doing in
A. Three years ago,
our district faced a $651,000 deficit. At that time, we embarked on
a course to return to fiscal security. Over the next two years, that
deficit fell to $312,000, then to $80,000. This year, we expect to
have a fund balance.
The cuts we made, the taxes you paid, and the policies we followed
now leave us in a better position to address the problems that
currently face all school districts.
Q. Are there staff reductions
in the proposed budget?
A. Slightly less than
three positions are eliminated in the budget. Reorganizing staff and
shuffling responsibilities results in one middle school teacher
being laid off.
One elementary teaching position has been eliminated. As a
consequence, next year’s third grade will have three sections
instead of four.
A half-time BOCES Home & Careers position in the middle school will
be eliminated. That class will be taught by current staff.
A half-time remedial education position in the elementary school
will be eliminated. Again, existing staff will fill the role.
A one-day-per-week BOCES guidance counselor in the high school will
be eliminated. Staff from Catholic Charities will provide some of
These changes do not reflect the possibility of teacher retirements.
Should the retirements come in the appropriate areas, these cuts
would not result in people losing their jobs.
Q. What other cost-saving measures
have been taken?
contracted with the central business office at ONC BOCES to handle
routine business functions such as payroll, bills, and bookkeeping.
This consolidation of services saves the district about $150,000
The district continues leasing buses instead of purchasing them.
This will save $200,000 over the next five years.
Canajoharie buys energy, supplies, and services jointly with other
school districts and municipalities to secure better pricing.
Our schools reduced field trips and froze all unnecessary spending.
The district is exploring every opportunity to save money and reduce
Q. How will the proposed
budget impact taxes?
A. The proposed budget
will increase the overall tax levy by no more than 4.0 percent.
Property tax rates will vary among the eight townships in the
district based on assessments and equalization rates.
Q. Does this mean my taxes will go up
A. Not necessarily.
Many things will impact our tax levy making it hard to project a
definite figure. Accordingly, we project “no more than four percent”
as the worst-case scenario with hopes that the increase will be
less. At this point, the legislature is considering returning some
of the state aid that was cut in the governor’s proposed budget. As
the end of the fiscal year approaches, we will have a clearer
picture of our fund balance. In addition we have new properties that
will begin paying a full share of property taxes. Funds from any of
these sources could lessen the tax burden.
If the cost of living is not rising, why are taxes increasing at
If we had received the same amount of State aid as we did in the
past, we would not have to raise taxes. But, we lost aid and certain
expenses rose despite the economy. On their own, these increases
would result in a significantly higher budget if not offset by steps
to reduce staff and expenses.
Q. What happened to the federal
A. We received our
federal stimulus money as promised in 2009-10. Unfortunately, the
state’s fiscal problems forced it to use a portion of the 2010-11
fiscal funds to avoid making mid-year cuts to our promised aid. As a
result, there is less federal money available for 2010-11
Q. What are we getting for our
A. We continue to be
an area leader. Our test scores are among the top in the region. Our
students are accepted into some of the nation’s finest universities.
Our school continues to be recognized for its art, music, and
Q. What happens in the future?
A. The future remains
a challenge. We cannot expect any increases in government funding.
In fact, we anticipate operating with less state aid than we
received three years ago. Over the next year, we will continue our
efforts to contain costs, improve efficiencies, and look for new
ways to provide the quality of education we have come to expect in
Canajoharie. The road ahead is uncertain and is likely to be rocky.
With the same commitment and support that helped us to this point,
however, we will come out the other side of this recession stronger
and better prepared to tackle our most important challenge—to
prepare today’s children to become tomorrow’s leaders.
View the district's budget document