Our District has made considerations over the past several years to provide for the educational and financial stability of our community. We have balanced past tax levies by utilizing ever increasing amounts of fund balance to assist our taxpayers with the recent economic constraints. Given the uncertainty of resources we receive from the state, we have had to work very hard to maintain staffing and programs without creating harmful cuts to student educational opportunities while living under the imposed Tax Levy Cap. We will respect and stay below the allowed .12% tax levy increase cap which will allow our taxpayers to be eligible for the State’s proposed tax rebate for 2016-2017 school year. Although the GEA has been fully restored and further aid is not being reduced this year, we have, over the past 6 years, been shortchanged over $25 million in Foundation Aid and, additionally, the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) was further reduced the lesser Foundation Aid amount by almost $7.5 million.
The Board of Education within the 2016-17 budget, and anticipating the need for a reconstruction project to address various control systems and “out-of-warranty” roofs, has reinstated a repair reserve for consideration by the voters of a one-time transfer of $750,000. This Repair Reserve allocation represents this year’s budget increase and is generally funded by the past two years’ surplus funds; therefore, it will have no impact on the taxes, and it will prepare us to meet the local obligation of the next reconstruction project. This conservative use of these reserve funds will allow us to plan for the long-term facility needs and also help balance the financial integrity of the school district while minimizing the impact to our taxpayers. Not factoring in the $750,000 for the one-time transfer for the repair reserve, the 2016-17 proposed budget is .12% higher than the current budget and maintains current academic programs as well as student services and activities.
We will continue to share services with our neighboring Districts and municipalities that will generate cost savings for all involved. Our area School District’s consortium continues to provide our District with important savings through special education and distance learning programs. Falconer Central School will continue to investigate all areas of cost savings for our District taxpayers while still providing the highest quality of education for our students during an era of increase efficiencies. “We truly believe that our two most important responsibilities are offering our students excellent educational opportunities while charting a financially sustainable long-term course for our schools.”
As always, we thank you in advance for your support.
Please remember to vote today in your local District.