Home » Board of Education adopts $26.2 million budget proposal

Board of Education adopts $26.2 million budget proposal

On Thursday, April 11, the Board of Education adopted a $26.2 million budget proposal for the 2024-25 school year. The proposed budget preserves the programs currently provided by the district.

Residents will vote on the proposal on Tuesday, May 21 from 12-8 p.m. in the auditorium. In addition to considering the budget proposal, residents will also vote on propositions related to bus leasing and purchasing, a transportation capital reserve fund and the Cambridge Public Library. Voters will also elect two candidates to fill open seats on the Board of Education. The successful candidates will serve three-year terms through June 30, 2027.

Budget remains within tax cap

The school tax levy, or total amount of money collected from local property owners, would increase by $174,272. This 1.8% increase is within the allowable tax cap and requires a simple majority vote of 50% plus one for approval.

Budget Q&A

What is the difference between the tax levy and tax rate?

The tax levy is the total amount of money a school district raises in taxes each year from all property owners in the district.

The tax rate is the amount paid for each $1,000 of taxable assessed value of property. The rate is used to calculate each individual property tax bill. In districts that cover just one municipality, the tax rate is figured by dividing the tax levy by the total taxable assessed value of the district, then multiplying by 1,000. This gives you the tax rate, which is expressed as the amount per $1,000 of assessed property value.

In districts that encompass more than one municipality, equalization rates are factored in as well to assign a fair share of the tax levy among the municipalities and to the taxpayers within them.

How are school tax bills calculated?

School tax bills are calculated using a property’s assessed value, as determined by the local town assessor, and the property tax rate. STAR exemptions or other exclusions can reduce school tax bills for eligible residents.

How could STAR reduce my school taxes?

New York State’s School Tax Relief Program, or STAR, provides partial school property tax savings to eligible homeowners. Most New Yorkers who own and live in their homes are eligible for STAR savings on their primary residences. There are two STAR programs, basic and enhanced, with different eligibility requirements.

The maximum exemptions individuals with basic or enhanced STAR could receive varies by township. More information about STAR can be found online.

Are taxpayers’ STAR savings factored into the budget?

No. The STAR program is tax relief for homeowners paid for by New York state through state taxes. This tax relief for homeowners does not affect the school district budget.

What is a “fund balance” and how does it help offset what I pay in school taxes?

Fund balance is created when there is money left at the end of the fiscal year, either by the district spending less than budgeted or receiving more revenue than anticipated. An unassigned fund balance provides monies that can be used for a variety of needs, unlike reserve funds, which are targeted for specific purposes. While recommendations from within the financial industry often suggest that an organization should have an unassigned fund balance of between 5 and 10% of their total annual budget, New York state limits school districts’ fund balances to 4%.

Voters to decide on bus lease/purchase proposition & transportation capital reserve fund

As part of the May 21 budget vote, voters will consider a proposition regarding school bus leasing/purchasing and a proposition to establish a transportation capital reserve fund.

This year, the district is proposing a five-year bus lease agreement for one 2024 70-passenger bus and a purchase agreement for two 2019 70-passenger school buses and one 2024 8-passenger school van. The proposition reflects a total cost of $297,615. On average, 78% of the cost would be reimbursed through transportation aid.

Also being proposed is the establishment of a transportation capital reserve fund. The fund would have a probable term of 10 years with an ultimate amount of $250,000.

Budget at-a-glance

  • Proposed Budget: $26,207,887
  • Budget Increase: $1,401,767
  • Tax Levy Increase: 1.8%

Qualifications to vote

  • Citizen of the United States, at least 18 years of age.
  • Resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote.
  • No person shall have the right to register for or vote at any school meeting or election who has been convicted of a felony per Section 5-106 of the election law.

All individuals must provide proof of residency at the vote. Proof must include a physical address, not a P.O. Box.

Absentee ballots and early voting

Applications for absentee ballots are obtainable between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays, from the district clerk’s office at 58 South Park Street. Completed applications must be received by the district clerk at least seven (7) days before the election if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or the day before the election, if the ballot is to be delivered personally to the voter. Absentee ballots must be received by the district clerk no later than 5 p.m., prevailing time, on Tuesday, May 21.

The New York Early Mail Voter Act allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot. You can request an early voter ballot in person up to the day of the election.