POTSDAM — The Potsdam Central School District School Board has ratified a budget of $36,589,000 for 2022-23. It will now go to school district voters on May 17. There will be a public hearing on the budget at the May 10 school board meeting.
Overall spending is up 2.6% compared to 2021-2022.
“When you think about the size of our budget, of the staff…it’s pretty remarkable that that’s all the increase,” Superintendent Joann M. Chambers said.
The proposed tax levy is projected at $14,740,107. This is an increase of $572,743, or 4%, more than last year.
Ms Chambers clicked on a slideshow at Tuesday night’s board meeting showing that 50.6% of the $36,589,000 will come from state revenue and aid, 40.3% will come from tax levies and 9.1% will come from the district or reserve fund balance. Account.
The superintendent’s slideshow says the district is considering an overall decrease of $379,419, or 2.1 percent, in state aid from last year. District operating aid should increase by 3.6%, as will expenditure aid, by 2.5%. She said construction aid would decline by 29.6%, but this is linked to “how our debt service payments have been reduced”.
The 2022-23 budget includes $11,021,851 for salaries, an increase of $469,900 or 4.45% over last year. Board of Cooperative Educational Services costs were $7,320,629, or $829,909, 13% higher than last year. Salaries would rise to a total of $12,129,206, an increase of $507,031 or 4.34% over last year.
Ms Chambers said there was an increase of $798,733 for special education. She said this was due to students moving into the district who needed these services, and the district was obligated to provide them. She said those costs are “a factor that you can try to plan for, but in reality, you never know” when a student in need of services will move into the district.
The district plans to pay $50,539 less than last year into the employee retirement system. Teachers’ pension payments are expected to increase by $63,907 and health and dental insurance payments will increase by $449,803.
Ms Chambers said the district, like many others, is facing a shortage of employees and will need to offer higher salaries to attract candidates for certain positions.
“The labor shortage is real,” she said. “We will have to offer higher salaries to compete for these employees.”
Looking further ahead, Chambers noted the state’s new requirement that schools must transition entirely to zero-emission school buses by 2035. Districts can’t purchase zero-emission buses until 2027, with an option to waive it until 2029 in the event of Financial Difficulty.
The superintendent said the district will be required to complete a workforce development report outlining any associated job losses or gains, as well as workforce training gaps.
“I think we’re going to hear a lot about it over the next few years,” Ms Chambers said.
In addition to the May budget referendum, district voters will be asked to vote for three school board seats and approve the purchase of four new school buses for $391,171. Ms Chambers said they will be funded for five years and will be eligible for public transport support. The proposal follows the district’s seven-year bus replacement schedule, she said.