On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, residents of the Catskill Central School District will decide on a $48,567,001 budget proposal for the 2022-23 school year. The budget carries a projected tax levy increase of 1.85 percent, which is under the allowable increase of 3.52 percent set by the NYS property tax cap. Spending is up a total of $2,523,728, a 5.48 percent increase from the current school year’s budget, largely the result of inflation, contractual obligations, increases in health and prescription drug insurance premiums, and debt service on the $40.8 million capital project that voters approved in 2019. The District applied $3,361,796 in fund balance to reduce the impact of cost increases on the tax levy.
“This budget offers a strong educational and support program for our students while remaining taxpayer friendly,” said Dr. Ronel Cook, Catskill’s superintendent of schools. “Despite the high rate of inflation we are seeing nationwide, our ongoing practice of careful long-term planning has allowed us to provide our students with what they need and keep the tax levy increase well under what the tax cap allows.”
The budget includes no cuts to student programs. School officials focused on ensuring that students would have the appropriate level of teachers, support staff, social workers, guidance counselors and administrators in each building based on need and student enrollment. The District will also continue its current levels of extracurricular activities and athletics, maintain its summer school programs at the elementary and middle schools, maintain its Pre-K program, and continue to offer students additional learning opportunities through Questar III BOCES Career & Technical Education and Tech Valley High School programs, the Bard College Bridge Program, and other college in high school partnerships.
In response to reduced need, one special education teacher position, one reading teacher position, one science teacher position, four teaching assistant positions, and six teacher aide positions were eliminated from the budget. These reductions were achieved without layoffs following retirements and not filling positions that were vacant.
Voters will also be asked to elect three candidates to the Board of Education and decide on a bond proposition for the purchase of operations and maintenance equipment and a small school bus. Additionally, the ballot includes a proposition for a wholly separate appropriation to support the annual budget of the Catskill Public Library.