Fonda-Fultonville adopts proposed $30M budget

FONDA — The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education adopted a proposed $30,339,457 million budget for the 2019-20 school year at its Wednesday meeting. Residents will vote on the proposal on May 21 from noon to 9 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

The proposed budget maintains all current programs and services, expands academic opportunities and support for students, and reflects a 3.45 percent year-to-year spending increase while staying within the tax levy limit.

The proposed budget calls to change the tax levy by 1.5 percent, or $155,099. The tax levy limit or “cap” for Fonda-Fultonville next year is 3.89 percent as calculated by the state formula. Because the proposed tax levy increase is under the cap, the proposed budget will require a simple majority vote for approval. The tax cap law only applies to the tax levy –the amount of taxes collected by the district — not to tax rates or individual tax bills.

Savings generated by strategic efficiencies, three retirements and a $266,169 increase in state foundation aid will allow the district to enhance its academic program while keeping the tax levy change below the tax cap. The district will additionally use $484,358 in reserves to balance the budget.

District leaders’ goal for the budget is to ensure the academic program engages and challenges every student while balancing fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.

“The district gives careful consideration to all expenditures to ensure our resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ciaccio said. “We strive to create an academic program that positions all of our students for success, ready to be productive members of a global economy – whatever their path may be.”

Enhancing the academic program

The district will strive to improve academic outcomes across all grades with the addition of a full-time director of curriculum and instruction. The proposed budget also allocates funding for a part-time school counselor — a new state-mandated position — who will support students in grades kindergarten through fifth.

The proposed budget provides funding to implement the first phase of the district’s 1:1 computer initiative. Under a pilot program, students in two secondary grade levels will receive a Chromebook to support their academic studies. The long-term goal is to put a technology device in the hands of each student to increase student collaboration, build research skills and encourage critical thinking, innovation and workplace readiness.

Bus lease proposition

Voters will consider a proposition to approve a five-year lease for a 30-passenger bus at a total cost not to exceed $49,000. The district’s current lease for a bus will expire on July 1. If voters approve the lease, the district will continue to have three leased buses.

The use of leased buses has generated significant savings for the district in areas that are not eligible for state aid, including prekindergarten transportation and the late bus run.

Community budget presentations

Ciaccio will give presentations about the proposed 2019-20 budget at locations across the community in April and May.

“We organized these presentations at different locations so people will have more opportunities to be a part of our budget process,” Ciaccio said.

The schedule is as follows:

∫ May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Glen Firehouse, 134 Auriesville Road, Glen.

∫ May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Mohawk Volunteer Fire Department.

∫ May 9 at 6 p.m. at the Fonda-Fultonville PTSA meeting in the middle school multi-purpose room, 112 Old Johnstown Road, Fonda.

Presentations are additionally scheduled at the local senior citizen groups’ monthly meetings:

∫ April 30 at 10:30 a.m. with the Glen Mohawk Senior Citizens, Fonda Reformed Church, 19 Broadway, Fonda.

∫ May 9 at 11 a.m. with the Tribes Hill Iroquois Seniors at Sacred Heart Church, 111 Third Ave., Tribes Hill.

A public hearing on the proposed 2019-20 budget is scheduled May 14 at 7 p.m. at the middle school multi-purpose room. The annual budget vote is May 21 from noon to 9 p.m. at the high school auditorium.