BOE adpots 2020-21 budget, vote to be held by absentee ballot on June 9On Tuesday, June 9, Jordan-Elbridge Central School District residents will vote via absentee ballot on a proposed $31,390,000 budget for 2020-21.
This budget, which represents a spending decrease of 1.37 percent or $435,000, will result in a 0 percent tax levy increase, which falls below the district’s legal limit as defined by New York’s tax levy cap legislation. Since the 0 percent tax levy increase is below the district’s tax levy cap of 0.06 percent, a simple majority (50 percent of votes plus one) is needed to approve the budget. Residents will also elect three Board of Education members.
To see a presentation on the proposed budget, click here.
In an executive order issued on May 1, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election will take place exclusively by absentee ballots due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
All registered voters in Jordan-Elbridge will receive self-addressed stamped ballots in the mail, which must be signed and returned by 5 p.m. on June 9 to count.
Meanwhile, the proposed 2020-21 budget marks the fourth time in five years JE has implemented a budget with no tax increase to voters.
“This school budget has been particularly challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a 20 percent additional cut to our state aid, or slightly over 2 million dollars of lost revenue for the Jordan-Elbridge School District. Fortunately, we have been positioning ourselves over the last several years to be in a sound financial position while at the same time going out at a 0 percent tax increase in four out of the past five years,” said Superintendent James Froio.
“Although the financial challenges are unprecedented, our budget goals have remained unchanged. We remain committed to our mission of cultivating the best in personal growth and achievement. We remain committed to the district’s values of excellence in education and operating in a fiscally responsible manner. We remain committed to the Jordan-Elbridge community. This pandemic should not take educational opportunities away from our children. Therefore, this budget supports our academic and co-curricular programs for our students.
“Additionally, we understand that many folks are struggling at home financially and the last thing anyone needs is a tax increase during such hard times. Thus, once again, this budget carries a 0 percent tax increase. We accomplished this by utilizing some of the school district’s reserves and by cutting over a million dollars of expenses out of the budget.”
New provisions in the state budget have contributed to uncertainty for school districts as they budget for the 2020-21 school year. The provisions include three periodic reviews of state revenue that could result in mid-year school aid cuts. There is also a new “Pandemic Adjustment” which is a reduction in state aid to school districts that the state is using to help fill its own budget gap.
Jordan-Elbridge anticipates a reduction of about $2.3 million (or 13.6 percent) in state aid from 2019-20 to 2020-21, and a 20 percent reduction from the original state budget (pre-pandemic). District leaders plan to use reserves and fund balance to help balance the budget.
The proposed spending plan includes other cost savings measures such as reducing four teaching positions through attrition (that includes two retirements), reduced equipment purchases, and the refinancing of a bond. By refinancing the bond, the district will save $309,000 over the next seven years and $41,000 during the 2020-21 school year.
In the proposed budget, the district eliminated professional development, field trips, and summer school through BOCES for the upcoming year. The preliminary budget proposal in February included an assistant principal for the Jordan-Elbridge Dynamic Intermediate School, but that position is not included in the current proposal.
Additionally, the district will use savings from this year to purchase textbooks and supplies for the 2020-21 school year.
A hearing on the budget will take place at 6:30 p.m. on May 28 via Zoom. For further details on the budget, visit the district website (www.jecsd.org).
"Please exercise your right to vote via mail-in ballots this school year," Froio said.