2020-2021 Budget Update May 26, 2020
The Cortland Board of Education began the process of creating the 2020-21 school budget six months ago, prior to dealing with
Covid-19 and all of the changes associated with dealing with the virus. As you are aware, it has taken a toll in lives lost and created huge financial challenges across the nation, especially in New York State.
The proposed budget reflects a 1.2% budget increase and a 1.09% tax levy increase. It is the first budget increase for the District in five years and it is the first budget in nearly a decade that does not use our dwindling reserves to balance the budget. It was a challenge to develop a budget with such a small increase due to the increasing costs in health care, contractual obligation, and legacy costs. The Board had to make difficult decisions to reduce expenses by $1.76m. Of that total, $764,171 was due to not using reserves. Instructional, support staff, and administrative vacancies were not filled unless they were deemed absolutely necessary. Supplies and equipment purchases were trimmed. As always, the Board kept the focus on student needs first along with planning for the future. We made every attempt to preserve opportunities for students.
Over 80% of the $50,170,001 proposed budget is allocated to instruction and benefits. We are a “people” centered operation. Transportation and maintaining our facilities account for an additional 17% of our budget and both of these categories are highly aidable and generate revenue to assist with the expense. Under 3% of our budget is allocated toward district support expenses.
Voting will be done by absentee ballot, only. All ballots must be received at the Kaufman Center, 1 Valley View Drive, by 5:00 p.m. on June 9, 2020. Under the Governor’s emergency provisions, there is no revote on a budget that is not approved. In that case, the Board may have to adopt a contingent budget which means further reductions in the budget. Also under a contingent budget, the District would have to charge all community partners for any use of its buildings.