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September 22, 2017
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Stillwater News

Board continues budget review process; Next budget workshop is April 1

March 28, 2014 – The Stillwater Board of Education continues to develop a 2014-15 spending plan as it looks at various budget scenarios, the tax levy limit calculation, and the district’s estimated budget gap.

With deliberations thus far, the board is considering a tax levy increase of 3.01 percent—nearly two percentage points below the district’s maximum allowable tax levy, as determined by a formula set by the state. According to the formula, Stillwater could go out with a 4.9 percent increase over the current year’s tax levy without requiring a supermajority vote (60 percent approval).

Based on information from the four towns that comprise the district, Stillwater officials expect to see growth in the district’s overall property assessments. About half of the anticipated tax levy increase would be generated from this assessment growth, mitigating the impact on existing assessed properties. The remaining levy increase is in line with the year-to-year change in the Consumer Price Index—a measure of the rate of inflation—which is 1.46 percent.

“The tax levy increase does not equate to the tax rate increase,” said Superintendent Stanley Maziejka. “At this point, we are projecting a tax rate increase of less than two percent.”

When budget development started, the district faced a $1.5 million gap between anticipated expenditures and revenues for the next school year, mostly due to significant increases in health insurance and employee pension costs.

Another factor, state aid, has not been keeping up with the rising cost of education. Remaining in the Governor’s budget proposal is the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), which was introduced in 2010 as a way for the state government to close its budget deficit. Stillwater has lost more than $7 million to the GEA in the last four years. Under the Governor’s budget proposal, Stillwater would see a GEA restoration of $94,000 – but still face a GEA cut of more than $1 million in aid owed to the district.

To help close the budget gap, the district will receive an estimated increase of $65,000 from the Global Foundries PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). The board is also contemplating allocating more than $890,000 from the district’s undesignated fund balance—money that may be used to pay for emergency repairs and other unforeseen occurrences.

The district is waiting for final state budget figures, which are expected to be out April 1.

The last Budget Workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1, in the MS/HS library. The board expects to adopt a 2014-15 budget proposal on April 8, and the annual budget vote and BOE election is set for Tuesday, May 20. Polls will be open from 12 noon to 9 p.m. in the old Stillwater Middle School gym.

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