Proposed budget enhances opportunities for students, stays below tax levy limit; vote May 18

Through absentee ballots and in-person voting on Tuesday, May 18, Arkport Central School District residents will vote on a $11,969,646 proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed budget, which carries a spending increase of $93,350 or 0.79%, will result in a tax levy increase of 1.91% – which is below the district’s legal limit as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation.

Residents will also vote to purchase one wheelchair accessible school bus and one SUV, lease two school buses and elect one member to the board of education.

While developing the 2021-22 proposed budget, district officials held tight to their goal of ensuring that students receive a high-quality education while remaining fiscally responsible and respectful of the local tax impact on the community.

“We want to provide our students with an excellent education in a safe, nurturing learning environment, and while we need the necessary tools to do so, we also recognize our responsibility to our taxpayers who have their own budgets to balance,” Superintendent Jesse Harper said.

The proposed spending increase of $93,350 or 0.79% can be attributed to contractual salary raises, employee benefits, ongoing building debt as well as the costs associated with the district’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remediation (such as personal protective equipment for students and staff, tent rentals for outdoor learning areas and increased staffing for cleaners, monitors and substitutes).

Revenue to fund the district’s operating budget comes from two primary sources: state aid and the local tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district will collect from local property owners to support the school budget.

The district is slated to receive a 3% increase in state aid. Because Arkport finalized its school budget in March, state aid amounts were not factored into the district’s budget projections. The district plans on using state aid funds toward COVID-19 pandemic remediation. 

In addition to the state aid increase, the district will receive federal COVID-19 relief packages that will also be used to address learning loss, academic remediation and students’ social and emotional needs due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the 2021-22 budget would maintain all existing programs, preserve the district’s current school resource officer position, create a full-time social worker position, a full-time band teacher position and expand the district’s Response to Intervention (RTI) program.

While in-person voting will take place, qualified voters can request an absentee ballot if they will not be able to vote in person due to illness or physical disability, concern of the potential to contract or spread COVID-19, hospitalization, incarceration or travel.

Voters who choose to vote by absentee ballot need to submit an absentee ballot application. To request this application, contact District Clerk Meghann Khork, mkhork@arkportcsd.org or (607) 295-7471 ext. 1416. Applications for absentee ballots that are to be mailed to the voter must be received no later than May 11, 2021.