On April 20, 2021, the Board of Education adopted the proposed budget for the 2021-2022 school year. The budget was created to continue Catskill Central School District’s current student programs and staffing, while reducing the burden to our taxpayers. The budget totals $46,052,273 and carries a projected tax levy increase of 1.97 percent, which is under the allowable increase of 4.15 percent set by the NYS property tax cap. Spending is up a total of $3,171,061, a 7.39 percent increase from the current year’s budget, due largely to program initiatives, contractual obligations in the area of employee benefits, transportation needs, and inflation. The District utilized $339,491 in existing reserves and applied $2,677,295 in fund balance to reduce the impact of cost increases on the tax levy.
In developing the budget, school officials focused on growing Catskill’s instructional/support programs and providing appropriate levels of staffing to meet our students’ evolving needs, while using conservative budgeting practices to ensure fiscal stability and remain sensitive to taxpayers.
Program initiatives for 2021-22 include the addition of two academic intervention teaching positions and a stipend for a digital media advisor at the middle school, as well as two teaching assistant positions and a fitness center coordinator position at the high school. The District will also contract with Twin County Recovery Services for one year to provide two prevention counselors, with one serving at the elementary level and the other at the secondary level.
In response to reduced need, the District eliminated one special education teaching position from the budget, achieving this reduction through attrition following a retirement.
The District also plans to maximize the use of federal grants to address learning loss experienced during the pandemic and other related issues. Provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan, this one-time funding is separate from the general budget and is restricted in how it can be used (for example, it cannot be used to reduce taxes). School officials are in the process of reviewing these recently announced grants to determine how the money can best be used and how to apply for it.
“This is a taxpayer-friendly budget that continues to improve education in Catskill,” said Dr. Ronel Cook, Catskill’s superintendent of schools. “It increases support for our students in the areas where they need it most, contains no program cuts, and has a tax levy increase that is less than half of what the state tax cap allows.”
Voters will also be asked to elect four candidates to the Board of Education and decide on a separate proposition for an appropriation to support the annual budget of the Catskill Public Library.
Budget documents, presentations, and more ore information can be found on our Budget Information page.