The Catskill Board of Education has adopted a proposed $42,881,212 budget for the 2020-21 school year. The proposed budget is up a total of $240,283, a 0.53 percent increase from the current year’s budget. This increase is due to staffing adjustments, instructional equipment purchases for technology, and anticipated debt service for the capital project. The budget carries a tax levy increase of 3.63 percent, which stays within the limit set by NY State’s property tax cap.
Budget highlights include the addition of an Early College Program that will give Catskill juniors and seniors the ability to earn up to 24 college credits through a partnership between our District, Bard College, and Questar III BOCES. The budget also strengthens our High School’s Distance Learning program with additional courses in Math Applications, Statistics, Video Game Design and Minecraft, and updated electives such as Anatomy & Physiology, AP Psychology, Spanish IV, and AP Economics, among other offerings. A cheerleading team, as well as LGBQT, recycling and fishing clubs are additions proposed by our students.
School officials adjusted staffing levels to match program needs and student enrollment. The budget includes a recommendation to add three special education teachers at the Elementary School and a school social worker at the Middle School. The recommended additions will address the academic and social-emotional needs of our students.
Following retirements at the end of this school year, the District will not fill two elementary teacher positions at the Elementary School and one math teacher position at the Middle School, which allows these cuts to be made without layoffs. These reductions reflect the decline in student enrollment that Catskill has seen and therefore will not impact what the District oﬀers its students. The District also appropriated $627,594 in fund balance to reduce the impact of cost increases on the tax levy.
“Due to the current state of the economy during these uncertain times, the budget recommendations are ultra-conservative,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ronel Cook. “We are able to maintain the quality of our instructional programs, but also address the social-emotional needs of all students. It is prudent to remain fiscally responsible as a District and empathetic to our taxpayers. This budget contains no cuts to programs, improves opportunities for students, and oﬀers taxpayers a spending plan that keeps taxes at the tax cap.”
The Budget vote takes place June 9, 2020 by absentee ballot only, per an executive order by Governor Cuomo. Voters will also be asked to elect three candidates to the Board of Education.
More information is available on our Budget Information page…