Catskill Central School District voters approved a $39,950,000 budget for the 2017-2018 school year on May 16, 2017. The budget carried a projected tax levy increase of 1 percent, which was below New York State’s property tax cap. The budget was up a total of $532,850, a 1.35 percent increase from the previous year’s budget, the result of inflation, contractual obligations, program initiatives, and rising health insurance premiums.
2017-2018 School Budget Development Calendar
- January 18, 2017 – Board of Ed. Meeting; establish budget priorities based upon input from Board members. 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- February 8, 2017 – Budget Workshop Meeting: First Budget Presentation to BOE (Rollover Budget) 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- February 15, 2017 – Board of Ed. Meeting: Revised Budget Presentation, 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- February 28, 2017 – Submit Tax Levy Limit (Tax Cap) to NYS Comptroller and SED.
- March 8, 2017 – Budget Workshop Meeting: Second Budget Presentation, 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- March 22, 2017 – Board of Ed. Meeting; Third Budget Presentation, Revisions based upon input from prior meeting, 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- April 11, 2017 – Applications for Absentee Ballots available at the District Office and District Website.
- April 12, 2017 – Budget Workshop meeting: Final Budget Presentation to BOE, Adoption of 2017-18 Budget, 7pm in the MS/HS Library.
- April 13, 2017 – Property Tax Report Card submitted to SED and transmitted to media.
- April 17, 2017 – Deadline for filing Board candidate petitions and deadline to submit propositions to the District Clerk, by 5:00 pm
- April 20, 2017 – Absentee Ballots available from District Clerk.
- April 26, 2017 – Proposed budget available at the District Office and on the District website.
- May 3, 2017 – Public Hearing on Proposed Budget by the Board of Ed., 6pm MS/HS Library
- May 4, 2017 – Budget Notice Mailing
- May 9, 2017 – Last day to submit application for Absentee Ballot if applicant wishes to receive ballot by mail.
- May 16, 2017 – Annual Budget Vote and Board Election, 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm, CHS Gymnasium.
Property Tax Cap Information
Contrary to popular belief, the NYS Property Tax Cap does not cap tax increases at 2 percent. Instead, public schools must use a state formula each year to determine the amount they can increase their tax levies by without having to seek a higher percentage of voter approval for the budget. This threshold is usually different each year and may be above or below 2%. The district must determine its tax cap number and submit it to the state by March 1st of each year.
For 2017, Catskill’s tax cap is 3.03 percent.
If the year-to-year increase of the District’s tax levy (portion of the school budget funded by property tax) is at or below the number determined by the formula (the “cap”), a simple majority (50% + 1) of voter approval is needed to pass the budget. If the District puts before voters a budget that carries a tax levy increase above the number determined by the formula, a super majority (60%) of voter approval is needed for the budget to pass.
Capital Reserve Fund
Proposition #2 on the May 16, 2017 ballot was approved by voters, creating a Capital Reserve Fund to assist the District in financing construction projects or the purchase of equipment. The maximum amount of money the District can place in the fund is the total of $10,000,000 over a period of 15 years.
A Capital Reserve Fund is similar to a savings account and would help the District plan for long-term needs with little impact on the general budget. Having a Capital Reserve Fund would allow the District to set aside fund balance (money left over due to projected revenues being greater than expenditures) to pay for needed capital improvements down the road. The District plans to put $750,000 into the fund the first year and add additional money each following year based on revenue and expenditures.
The District anticipates the need for capital work (construction and maintenance) to keep our facilities updated, maintained, and safe. Before the District could spend any money from the Capital Reserve Fund, it must seek voter approval. The District would provide details on such spending, and community members would decide on that spending in future budget votes or possibly a capital referendum.