Budget Edition May 2015 roposed Budget 7 am to 9 pm District Office Budget Change Tax Levy Increase Vote Day Details A Look Inside

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1 1 Budget Edition May 2015 Residents to vote on 2015/16 proposed budget May 19 Southern Cayuga Central School District residents will vote on a $16,397,112 budget proposal for the school year on Tuesday, May 19, from 7 am to 9 pm in the District Office (through the door near the greenhouse). Voters will also select from among three candidates for two open seats on the SCCS Board of Education and consider three additional propositions: the purchase of three buses, repairs to the planetarium and an increase in local funding for the Aurora Free Library and Hazard Library. The SCCS Board of Education has worked for several months analyzing projected expenditures and anticipated revenues. The decrease in expenses is due in large part to the retirement of building project debt, much like paying off a mortgage. The decrease in debt payments of approximately $900,000 will trigger a revenue decrease of over $800,000 in state aid. Once the debt payment ends, so does the corresponding state aid. The operating budget also includes a decrease in retirement costs and increases to support maintenance needs and contractual obligations, such as negotiated salaries and benefits. The proposed budget calls for a projected tax levy increase of 1.75 percent. This increase is below the district s maximum allowable tax levy increase of 2.09 percent, which will allow the district to secure a budget approval with a majority vote of 50 percent plus one (see page 2). Next year, this would mean an estimated $24 increase in the school tax bill for a property assessed at $100,000. Last year voters approved a capital project to construct the elementary school parking lot, upgrade lighting to gain energy performance efficiencies, install a solar array, resurface the track and dredge our retention pond. Currently the project remains under review by state education and we hope to move forward with construction in the near future. Proposition I: Budget Proposed Budget $16,397,112 Budget Change - $487,383 Tax Levy Increase + $133, % Vote Day Details Tuesday, May 19 7:00 am to 9:00 pm District Office PLEASE NOTE Voting May 19 7:00 am to 9:00 pm in the DISTRICT OFFICE (enter at door near greenhouse) A Look Inside Budget Q & A 2 Propositions II & III 2 Propositions III & IV 3 Contingency 4 Budget Charts 4 & 5 Board Candidates 6 Budget Notice 7

2 2 Q & A What is a tax levy limit and is SCCS below its limit? The tax levy limit is the highest allowable tax levy a school district can propose for which only the approval of a simple majority of voters (50 percent plus one) is required. The limit is calculated using a multi-step formula that takes into account any allowable exclusions (such as pension costs and capital expenditures). Any proposed tax levy above this limit requires budget approval by a super majority of voters (60 percent). The SCCS Board of Education has proposed a budget that includes a tax levy below its limit, partly in response to concerns shared by community members at public meetings. This would require passage by a simple majority of voters. How is the tax levy different from a tax rate? The tax levy is the total amount of money the district raises from local taxpayers while the tax rate is the amount of tax residents pay per $1,000 of property value. In 2015/16 the school tax levy would increase by 1.75 percent. The impact on school tax bills is projected to be an additional $24 next year for a property assessed at $100,000. With the tax levy limit, does the public still vote on a school budget? Yes, residents will still vote on a proposed school budget on May 19. Proposition II: Bus Purchases On May 19, voters will consider a proposition for $354,150 to purchase three 66-passenger buses. If the proposition is approved, the district will borrow $228,650 for the purchase, due to trade-in discounts for older, higher mileage buses. The bus purchases are also eligible for about $139,476 in state aid reimbursement. The cost of the proposition is already included in the debt service calculation for 2015/16, so it does not increase the proposed budget. The proposed bus purchases are part of an ongoing five-year bus replacement plan designed to ensure our students are transported on buses that meet the latest safety standards. The plan also preserves the resale value of buses traded in and provides coverage of all buses under a five-year warranty for parts and service, reducing parts purchases and expenses. Proposition III: Planetarium Project The Southern Cayuga Central Schools Board of Education proposes a $200,000 project to primarily focus on, but not be limited to, repairs of the Planetarium roof. The Friends of the Planetarium group has proposed to provide the District with a gift of $100,000 for renovation and reconstruction of the Planetarium, said gift being funded through private fundraising efforts conducted by the Friends of the Planetarium. The SCCS Board of Education proposes to the Southern Cayuga community a resolution for voter approval to utilize $100,000 from the district s repair reserve to complete repairs to the planetarium roof. The project is not eligible for state aid. The major goal of this first phase of a four-stage project is to replace the roof, protecting the integrity of the building by preventing further water penetration, at a cost of $200,000. This cost sharing proposal is subject to voter approval and the Friends of the Planetarium providing a donation of $100,000 to the district by October 1, If funds are not secured by October 1, 2015, this phase of the project will not move forward. Additional work will take place as future funding is secured. Current cost projections to complete all necessary repairs to the planetarium total nearly $600,000. The current year s proposal will account for approximately one third of these overall construction costs. continued on next page

3 3 Planetarium project, continued May 2015 Cost Sharing Proposal for First Phase Planetarium Roof Replacement $130,000 Boiler & Oil Pumps 15,000 Contingency Fees 22,719 Incidental & Inflation 32,281 Total Phase One Estimated Costs $200,000 Future Work Phased Over Several Years Masonry Repairs $ 25,000 Electrical Transformer & Panel 70,000 HVAC & Domestic Hot Water 165,700 Contingency Fees 38,136 Incidental & Inflation 69,144 Total Future Phased Work Cost Estimates $367,980 Proposition IV: Libraries The trustees of the Aurora Free Library and the Hazard Library are each seeking a $6,000 budget increase; the total $12,000 would help balance revenue losses and secure funds for maintaining library property and materials. The annual library tax levy would increase from $70,650 to $82,650 per year for support of their operations. The school district has a legal obligation to put this proposition before the voters when an increase is requested. It is separate from the budget proposition. If not approved by the voters, the amount raised would remain at the current annual level of $70,650. Q & A What happens if the budget is defeated? If the proposed budget is defeated in May, the SCCS Board of Education can put another budget -- revised or not -- up for a vote in June or immediately adopt a contingent budget. If the budget is defeated twice, SCCS would have to adopt a contingent budget, with a zero percent tax levy increase, which could mean an additional $133,207 in reductions to programs and services (see page 7). What is a STAR exemption and how does it reduce my school taxes? Community members who own a home can significantly reduce their school property taxes through a School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption, which is paid for through state taxes. Homeowners must apply through their town assessor s office to be eligible for this tax break. Learn more at index.htm. How is my tax bill calculated? Individual tax bills are calculated using: The assessed value of each property Any applicable exemptions (e.g. STAR) The current school tax rate

4 4 Where does the money come from? Approved Proposed Percent ($) ($) Change State and Federal Aid $8,587,625 $8,024, % Appropriated Fund Balance $357,368 $357, % Miscellaneous Revenue $170,000 $245, % Property Tax Levy $7,616,829 $7,750, % Reserve Utilization $152,673 $20, % Total Revenue $16,884,495 $16,397, % Under contingency, $133,207 more reductions in programs, services If the proposed budget is defeated by voters, the SCCS Board of Education, as in the past, will have the option of putting the same or a revised budget up for a revote, or adopting a contingent budget. If voters reject the budget twice, the district must adopt a contingent budget. More significantly, under the law, if SCCS adopts a contingent budget, the district would have to keep its 2015/16 tax levy the same as or less than its 2014/15 tax levy; in effect a 0 percent tax levy increase. In other words, the district would have to levy the same amount of taxes as in 2014/15 or less without any adjustments for contractual obligations or other costs, whether or not they are mandated. Adopting a contingent budget would prohibit SCCS from spending any money in certain areas, including community use of school facilities (unless all costs are reimbursed to the district); new equipment purchases; non-essential maintenance; capital expenditures (except in emergencies); salary increases for noninstructional, non-unionized employees; and certain field trips and student supplies. Contingency rules also cap the growth of the administrative component of the budget. GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) continues to impact SCCS The Southern Cayuga Central School District -- like school districts throughout New York -- continues to face a fiscal challenge. The national economy, compounded by new mandates, shrinking state aid and New York s tax levy limit law, has challenged public schools to provide a high-quality education to all students with significantly fewer resources. The partial restoration of aid is appreciated, but the district s projected loss for 2015/16 is still approximately $564,409. Under the GEA legislation, a portion of the state s school funding was divided among all school districts throughout the state, leaving holes in school district budgets. With the GEA continuing in the 2015/16 state budget, those holes are expected to widen. Since the 2010/11 school year, SCCS lost more than $6.2 million in education aid. That figure will grow to almost $6.7 million under the 2015/16 state budget. At the rate the Governor has proposed to restore the GEA cut in his 2015/16 budget, it would take two more years for it to be eliminated entirely.

5 5 Where does the $16,397,112 go? INSTRUCTION: 47.96% of proposed budget Teaching, Regular School $3,938,395 $3,912,081 Occupational Education $372,211 $402,852 Special Education $1,723,019 $1,826,932 Staff Development $12,000 $12,000 Teaching, Administration $339,499 $366,044 Library $138,358 $144,243 Technology $579,540 $591,540 Guidance $248,800 $248,800 Health Services $93,367 $93,367 Psychological Services $33,825 $33,825 Co-curricular Activities $69,857 $75,000 Athletics $142,602 $142,602 Community $15,200 $15,200 Total $7,706,673 $7,864,486 Percent Change 2.05% EMPLOYEE BENEFITS: 24.29% of proposed budget Health Insurance $2,070,551 $2,132,668 Teachers' Retirement $848,243 $695,955 Employees' Retirement $285,586 $275,000 Social Security $500,000 $505,000 Workers' Compensation $200,000 $200,000 Unemployment $50,000 $35,000 Dental & Vision $14,400 $14,832 Other Benefits $100,000 $125,000 Total $4,068,780 $3,983,455 Percent Change -2.10% OPERATIONS/MAINTENANCE: 7.22% of proposed budget Custodial Services $780,639 $844,687 Maintenance $205,178 $339,898 Total $985,817 $1,184,585 Percent Change 20.17% DEBT SERVICE/TRANSFERS: 9.60% of proposed budget Construction $1,944,578 $1,130,770 Buses $339,925 $334,550 Interfund Transfer $108,000 $108,000 Total $2,392,503 $1,573,320 Percent Change % TRANSPORTATION: 5.79% of proposed budget DISTRICT SUPPORT: 5.14% of proposed budget Transportation $897,124 $914,069 Garage $34,700 $34,700 Total $931,823 $948,769 Percent Change 1.82% Board of Education $23,860 $23,981 Central Administration $175,671 $182,624 Business Administration $271,082 $280,368 Auditing $17,500 $19,000 Treasurer $48,974 $50,114 Tax Collection $9,185 $9,185 Legal Services $60,051 $66,253 Personnel $30,650 $30,650 Insurance $68,151 $75,500 BOCES Administration/Capital $93,774 $104,822 Total $798,898 $842,497 Percent Change 5.46%

6 6 Q & A What exactly will I see on the ballot on May 19? Proposition I School Budget Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Southern Cayuga Central School District, Counties of Cayuga and Tompkins, New York, be and hereby is authorized to expend the sum of $16,397,112 and levy the necessary tax therefore. Proposition II Bus Purchases Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Southern Cayuga Central School District, Cayuga and Tompkins Counties, New York, is hereby authorized to purchase school buses, and that the maximum estimated cost not exceeding $354,150, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be raised by the levy of a tax upon the taxable property of said District and collected in annual installments as provided by Section 416 of the Education Law; and, in anticipation of such tax, obligations of said School District shall be issued. Board of Education Candidates On May 19 voters will select from among three candidates for two open seats on the Southern Cayuga Central School District Board of Education. Candidates are Teresa Hetherington, Bruce Kopp and David Wiemann. The school board is made up of seven non-paid citizens elected to serve overlapping terms of three years each. Together they Establish district policies; Develop an annual budget proposal; Approve or disapprove the superintendent s recommendations on personnel matters and contracts; and Act as a communication link between residents and the superintendent. To learn more about the school board, visit, click on District in the dropdown menu and then click on Board of Education. Teresa Hetherington is seeking her first term on the Board. A Southern Cayuga graduate, she has two children in the district. She would like to see more community involvement in the schools and ensure all district children get the education they deserve. Proposition III Planetarium Reconstruction Shall the following resolution be adopted, to-wit: RESOLVED, that the Southern Cayuga Central School District is hereby authorized to expend an amount not to exceed $200,000 for renovation and reconstruction of the District s Planetarium, to be funded by $100,000 from the District s repair reserve and $100,000 from private donations. Proposition IV Library Proposition Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: RESOLVED that the Board of Education for the Southern Cayuga Central School District is hereby authorized to raise the tax levy from $70,650 to $82,650 for the support and operation of the Aurora Free Library and the Hazard Library. If not approved by the voters, the amount raised will remain at the current annual level of $70,650. Bruce Kopp seeks a third term on the Board. He would like to continue his involvement with the district, contributing ideas and actions for increasing student learning opportunities, school programs and financial stability. Dave Wiemann would like to be elected to a second term on the Board. He now has a better understanding of a board member s role & responsibilities and the importance of considering multiple viewpoints, with the overall goal of providing the best possible education for every student.

7 7 School districts are required by state law to mail this information to all households within the district. For more budget information, call the District Office at DEFINITIONS The state requires school districts to present their annual budgets in three parts: program, administrative and capital. ADMINISTRATIVE: The administrative portion of the budget provides for the majority of the instructional support services in the district. It includes salaries and benefits of all professional staff members who spend 50 percent or more of their time in administration and supervision; salaries and benefits of clerical staff for administrators; curriculum development and supervision; research, planning and evaluation; central data processing; tax collection; most legal services; and school board costs. PROGRAM: The program portion of the budget is associated with providing instruction and support services to 720 SCCS students. It includes salaries and benefits of all teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, aides and monitors. It also includes costs for transportation, co-curricular and interscholastic athletics, in-service training, library and health. CAPITAL: The capital portion of the budget is associated with operating and maintaining the district s 191,400 square feet of buildings and acres of grounds. It includes debt service on buildings; leases; school bus purchases; tax certiorari and court-ordered costs; and salaries and benefits of all custodial staff. SCHOOL BUDGET NOTICE Budget Adopted for the 2014/15 School Year Budget Proposed for the 2015/16 School Year Contingency Budget for the 2015/16 School Year* Total budgeted amount, not including separate propositions $16,884,495 $16,397,112 $16,263,905 Increase or decrease for 2015/16 school year -$487,383 -$664,590 Percentage increase/decrease in proposed budget -2.9% -3.9% Change in the consumer price index 1.62% A. Proposed tax levy to support the total budgeted amount $7,616,829 $7,750,124 B. Levy to support library debt, if applicable $0 0 C. Levy for non-excludable propositions, if applicable** $0 $0 D. Total tax cap reserve amount used to reduce current year levy $0 $0 E. Total proposed school year tax levy (A+B+C-D) $7,616,829 $7,750,124 $7,616,829 F. Permissible exclusions to the school tax levy limit $385,833 $398,578 G. School tax levy limit, excluding levy for permissible exclusions H. Total proposed tax levy for school purposes, excluding permissible exclusions and levy for library debt, plus prior year tax cap reserve (E-B-F+D) I. Difference (G-H); negative value requires 60% voter approval; see note below regarding separate propositions** $7,236,990 $7,381,401 $7,230,996 $7,351,546 $5,994 $29, Administrative Component $1,341,370 $1,351,208 $1,282, Program Component $11,971,558 $12,109,006 $12,065, Capital Component $3,571,567 $2,936,898 $2,915,899 * Pursuant to Section 2023 of the Education Law, if the proposed budget is defeated in May, the SCCS Board of Education can put another budget the same or revised up for a vote in June or immediately adopt a contingent budget. After two unsuccessful votes, the district must adopt a contingent budget. Contingency would mean further reducing the proposed budget by $133,207, resulting in additional reductions for programs and services. Separate Propositions that are not included in the Total Budgeted Amount: (Tax Levy associated with educational or transportation services propositions are not eligible for exclusion and may affect voter approval requirements.) Description Amount Bus Purchases $354,150 Planetarium Renovation $200,000 Library Proposition $82,650 Under the budget proposed for the 2015/16 school year: Estimated Basic STAR Exemption Savings $429 1 The basic school tax relief (STAR) exemption is authorized by section 425 of the Real Property Tax Law. The annual budget vote for the fiscal year 2015/16 by the qualified voters of the Southern Cayuga Central School District, Cayuga and Tompkins Counties, New York, will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 pm, prevailing time, in the district office, 2384 State Route 34B, Aurora, at which time the polls will be opened to vote by voting machine.

8 8 Vote Day Details What exactly will I be voting on? * Budget; $16,397,112 * Buses; $354,150 * Planetarium Project; $200,000 * Libraries; $82,650 When and where is the vote? Tuesday, May 19, from 7:00 am till 9:00 pm in the SCCS district office. Who is eligible to vote? American citizens at least 18 years of age and who have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Do I need to pre-register to vote? No, pre-registration is not required. How do I vote by absentee ballot? Obtain an application at the district office or by calling The application must be returned by May 12 if the absentee ballot is to be mailed to the voter or by May 18 if it will be picked up by the voter. Absentee ballots must be returned no later than 5:00 pm on May 19. Make a Date for Dinner When you vote on May 19, stop in for the annual dinner fundraiser hosted by the Aurora Rotary Club, beginning at 2:30 pm in the high school cafeteria. For $7.50 you can enjoy a delicious meatball sub, with macaroni salad, green salad, and dessert. The Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 11, 7:00 pm, HS Library.

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