April 21, 2021: Proposed budget aligns with district’s strategic plan
Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District residents will vote May 18 on a proposed $60.2 million 2021-22 school budget that maintains and enhances existing student programming and supports the district’s four strategic plan priorities of culture of wellness; curriculum and programs; diversity, equity and inclusion; and family and community engagement.
On April 19, the J-D Board of Education adopted the 2020-21 budget proposal, which includes an increase of about $1.6 million in state aid for J-D compared to the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal that was released in January and that the district had been basing its budget development on.
“We got some really great news with the passage of the state budget this year,” Superintendent Peter Smith said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to move forward with key strategic initiatives that would benefit our students academically, socially, and emotionally while not increasing the amount of money our residents contribute to the budget.”
The board will hold a virtual public hearing on the budget 7 p.m. May 10, and residents will have the opportunity to vote on the spending plan from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 18 at J-D High School. The Zoom link for the budget hearing will be shared on the website before the meeting date.
With the additional state aid, the district is proposing to increase spending on curriculum resources, staff professional development, student support and technology resources for students and staff members. Highlights include the following.
- Purchasing a new grades K-6 English language arts program, including hiring additional staff to be trained in the new program so they can support existing staff in its implementation.
Continuation of the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion work with the Metro Center for Innovation and Equity.
Academic support to extend learning based on needs resulting from the pandemic.
Acquiring more laptops as the district moves to a 1:1 technology program and funding for an additional technology staff position to support staff and students.
Increasing a part-time maintenance position to full-time and increasing departmental funding so the district could tackle some much needed facility work.
“This is a budget that I am very excited about,” Smith said. “Our students would greatly benefit from these initiatives and opportunities.”
The district’s $60,179,653 budget proposal would increase spending by 2.62%, or $1,538,678, compared to the 2020-21 school year. Funding would come from four areas: state aid ($15,659,868), the tax levy ($42,178,539), designated reserves ($896,619) and other revenue ($1,444,627) from such items as sales tax and interest income.
The tax levy is the total amount of money collected from district property owners to support the budget. The proposed tax levy is at the district’s limit, or cap, which is a decrease of 0.11% compared to the current school year’s tax levy, which means the district would collect from property owners a total of $47,417 less than in the current year. Because the proposal is at the district’s tax levy limit, a simple majority of voters would need to approve the budget for it to pass.
The tax levy is just one factor, along with assessment rates and equalization rates, that figures into determining the tax rate, which is used to calculate what each property owner ultimately pays in school taxes. It is anticipated that the majority of property owners would see a decrease in their tax rates, although those rates will not be set until summer by local municipalities.