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August 24, 2017
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Stillwater News

Voters to consider $24.5 million budget on May 16

Apr. 13, 2017 – On Tuesday, May 16, Stillwater Central School District residents will vote on a proposed $24,529,950 budget for the 2017-18 school year. The board of education unanimously adopted the budget proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, April 11.

If voters approve the spending plan, the projected tax levy—the total amount of money a school district can raise through property taxes—would increase by 5.25 percent. 3.26 percent is for growth in assessment within the district and 1.99 percent would be the current taxpayers increase.

District officials estimate that the school tax rates, which are the amount of taxes residents pay per $1,000 of assessed property value, will increase by 2 percent or less due to growth in the district’s overall property assessments. The district will set final school tax rates in August.

“The proposed budget preserves and enhances educational programs, which will allow our students to continue to grow, learn, and develop,” said Superintendent Patricia Morris. “However, we always keep our taxpayers in mind and understand the impact our wants and needs have on them.”

The 2017-18 budget proposal increases spending by $540,491, or 2.25 percent, over the current budget. Much of that increase is driven by rising costs associated with salaries, employee pensions and benefits, as well as state and federal mandated programs and services.

The proposed budget also calls for the addition of a full-time elementary math enrichment teacher, who will help students with their math skills, the addition of summer enrichment programs to provide students with learning opportunities when school is not in session, the addition of a Unified Sports Program to allow for special education students to participate in sports, the enhancement of the Work-based Learning Program, where special education students learn skills and jobs, and enhancements and improvements for the arts and music department.

Also on May 16, voters will elect three members to the board of education and decide on a $100,000 capital project proposition to repair the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems at the elementary school, middle school and transportation building. Residents will also vote on a separate proposition to approve the Alternative Veterans Exemption. The non-binding vote will be to gauge the district taxpayers’ opinion on a veteran’s tax exemption. This exemption, if approved and after board discussions, would not be put into place until the 2018-19 school year.

Residents can expect to receive a budget newsletter in early May. Residents are also encouraged to attend the public budget hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, in the MS/HS library.

Anyone who is a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and a resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to May 16 is eligible to vote on the school budget. Voter registration is also required. Stillwater residents who have voted in the general election within the last three years, and who have not changed their residence, are already registered. There will also be a Voter Registration Day held on Tuesday, May 2, from noon to 4 p.m. in the district clerk’s office, 1068 North Hudson Avenue. Proof of identification and residency is required.

Absentee ballot applications will also be available on the district website and in the district clerk’s office for those who are unable to vote in person and who meet the requirements for absentee voting. If you have any questions, contact Mary Sgambati, District Clerk, at 373-6100, ext. 30022.

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