Tuxedo School Board adopts a $13.49 million budget

Spending plan is $669,864 less than current spending

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— The Tuxedo School Board of Education unanimously adopted a proposed $13,497,279 budget for the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday night.

The proposal is $669,864 less than the district's 2015-16 budget, a decrease of 4.73 percent.

All programs, faculty and staff currently in place for this school year are maintained in the proposed budget.

“George F. Baker High School is not closing,” said School Board President Joanne Vernon. “While in the short-term it may be less expensive to send our high school students to a neighboring high school, variables such as the number of students, transportation costs and unknown tuition rates could have a catastrophic impact on the taxpayers in the long-term.

"The Board of Education does not support tuitioning our high school students to another high school or merging with any district," Vernon added.

The cost to merge
She said the financial repercussions of merging with another district would be:

Merging with Monroe-Woodbury, the taxes would increase by 83 percent (or $145.72 per $1,000 of assessed value);

Merging with Ramapo Central, the taxes would increase by 126 percent (or $179.69 per $1,000 assessed value).

Currently, the Town of Tuxedo is at $79.58 percent $1,000 of assessed value.

The budget proposal has an estimated 1.06 percent increase in the tax levy and the total proposed taxes to be collected by the school district will be $11,450,415. The actual tax levy will be set in August when the town assessor provides certified assessment figures, state aid and equalization rates are confirmed.

Due to the increase in the tax levy, a super majority, or 60 percent, is needed to pass this budget.

Per New York State calculations, the Tuxedo property tax cap is -.33 percent which enables the district to collect $37,363 less in taxes than it did in the 2015-16 school year.

“Careful planning, prudent judgment and consideration of various options guided Tuxedo’s administration and this Board in the development of this budget,” Vernon added. “This gives all our students the very best educational opportunities and we believe voters will feel similarly.”

The School Board held workshops over the course of March and April. At those meetings, members of the public had opportunities to comment on the proposed budget and were provided copies of the budget presentation as well as line by line items.

The district posted FAQs related to the budget workshops on its website shortly after the meetings were held.

'Sounds budget'
“This budget is one that allows the district to maintain the highest quality of educational programs for our students,” said Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed. “The tax cap formula does not take into consideration the increasing costs that districts incur and the ultimate sacrifice is at the students’ expense. The district administration and the Board of Education have come up with a sound budget with a minimal impact being proposed to our taxpayers.”

Percent of costs
Here's how the budget breaks down:

51.08 percent: Instructional cost;

30.55 percent: Retirement system, Social Security, health and worker's compensation;

12.47 percent: General support services; and

5.09 percent: transportation costs

Budget highlights
In addition to maintaining the existing academic programming, other budget proposal highlights include:

Maintaining school clubs: Drama; National and Junior National Honor Societies; Art; Model UN; Production Team; Odyssey of the Mind; Homework; Engineering; GGM and high school yearbooks; Problem Solving; GGM and high school student councils; and GGM basketball.

Maintaining modified and varsity sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball and varsity wrestling and cross country.

Tuition, transportation and related services for special education out of district placements: 21 students.

C-tech at Orange Ulster BOCES program available to 11th and 12th graders: – 8 students.

$200,000 re-appropriated from paid off GGM addition to make necessary health and safety repairs per the New York State Facilities Building Condition Survey Report.

A health insurance increase of 4.75 percent.

“This budget also includes a 10.93 percent increase in state aid over last year,” Teed said. “We are grateful to our elected officials for their work in helping to secure the funding for school districts throughout New York State.”

For more information, visit: http://tuxedoufsd.org.

What's next
The district will hold a school budget hearing on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m.

The school budget vote is Tuesday, May 17, from 2 to 9 p.m.

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