[April 24, 2014] Last evening, the Board of Education voted to adopt the proposed 2014-2015 budget. The adopted budget totals $130,372,327, which represents a 1.85% budget-to-budget increase from the 2013-14 school year and a tax levy increase of 0.82%.
For the coming school year, the District will lose over $2M in State Aid promised, but not delivered, due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) law—bringing Ramapo Central’s cumulative loss in State Aid due to GEA to $12.5M since 2010-11. Chronic underfunding by the State has forced the District to spend down its savings, resulting in a “planned deficit” for each subsequent fiscal year.
To cover the State Aid shortfall due to GEA for 2014-15, Ramapo Central must once again rely on its reserves. The District proposes the use of unrestricted tax certiorari reserve funds in the amount of $780,290 and the allocation of $1,000,000 from the liquidation of encumbered purchase orders for tax certiorari, in accordance with the District’s Corrective Action Plan in response to the New York State Comptroller’s Audit Report.
The school budget vote will held on Tuesday, May 20. Polls will be open from 6am until 9pm. For voting information, please call (845) 357-7783 x11234.
[April 11, 2014] The impact of the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) legislation and discrepancies in reported state aid increases were the subject of the final budget workshop.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert presented the final 2014-15 calculations based on state budget information. The proposed 2014-15 budget totals $130,372,327, which represents a budget-to-budget increase of 1.85% and a maximum allowable tax levy limit of 0.82%.
From 2010-11 through 2014-15, Ramapo Central has sustained a cumulative loss of $12.5M in state aid promised, but not delivered, as a result of the GEA. For the 2014-15 school year alone, the District will lose over $2M due to GEA.
“If these funds were restored, we would have a balanced budget for 2014-15—and even a small surplus,” said Seibert. “Instead, we are forced to continue to rely on our reserves.”
To balance the budget, the District is proposing the use of unrestricted tax certiorari reserve funds in the amount of $780,290 and the allocation of $1,000,000 from the liquidation of encumbered purchase orders for tax certiorari, in accordance with the District’s Corrective Action Plan in response to the New York State Comptroller’s Audit Report.
In addition, Seibert noted that, despite reports citing nearly double-digit increases in state aid, Ramapo Central instead must plan for chronic gaps in funding between aid promised in the state enacted budget and actually disbursed. While legislators worked to pass the 2014-15 budget, revisions were made to 2013-14 allocations. As a result, the District learned in early April that it would actually receive nearly $400,000 less for the current year than what was promised in the state budget passed last March. A similar situation occurred in 2012-13, resulting in a difference between state aid enacted and received which represented a loss of $1.07M.
The Board of Education will convene to adopt the proposed budget on April 23 at 7:30pm at the Administrative Building in Hillburn.
For detailed information, please visit the Budget webpage for presentations and FAQs regarding the proposed 2014-15 budget.
District residents are encouraged to urge their state legislators to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Visit the District’s Advocacy web page for a sample letter.
Please mark your calendars: The school budget vote is Tuesday, May 20.
[March 27, 2014] Despite a modest 1.85% budget-to-budget increase, the Ramapo Central School District is looking at a planned deficit of $2.3 M for 2014-15, according to the March 18 Board Budget Workshop presentation by Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert.
"Simply put, we are overspending our budget and dipping into savings to make up the difference," stated Seibert. "We are spending down our reserves, which is unsustainable."
In fact, the District learned last month that, due to an adjustment to the funding formula by the State Comptroller's Office, its maximum allowable tax levy has dropped from the February 4 calculation of 1.04% to .92%.
"All New York State public school districts received clarification that they may not use actual figures for exemptions, but instead must use the same figure used last year," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas Adams. "Those who do not comply will be subject to review."
The tax levy drop to 0.92% translates to a revenue loss of $132,000, which will be added to the District's tab, increasing the total use of reserves to $2.3M.
Community members are encouraged to stay informed throughout the budget development process by attending the Board budget workshops. The final budget workshop is scheduled for 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 8 at Cherry Lane Elementary School.
Information regarding the budget development process can be found on the District's budget webpage. Budget-related questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[February 25, 2014] At the February 4 Board budget workshop, Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert presented roll-over budget projections and preliminary maximum allowable tax levy calculations for upcoming fiscal year. Budget development to date has been based on anticipated health insurance increase of 5.0%, a TRS rate of 17.75% and State Aid according to Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget.
Rollover projections for 2014-15 show total expenditures of $130,372,327, representing a 1.85% budget-to-budget increase from this year. Rollover salary projections include the reduction of one Teaching Assistant position due to decreased enrollment and one Assistant Maintenance Mechanic position due to attrition.
The District’s maximum allowable tax levy is estimated at 1.04%, lower than the 2014-15 statewide cap of 1.46%, due to reduced exemptions resulting from refinanced bonds and payments received upon completion of the energy performance contract. Seibert noted that the District has realized significant savings by refinancing the bonds and through full implementation of the energy performance contract, which has cut electric and gas costs by nearly $100,000 per year.
Seibert reiterated the challenge facing the District, and all school districts across the state: preserving programs despite declining State Aid. In 2014-15, Ramapo Central will lose another $2,276,609 due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). Since the GEA was implemented in 2010-11, the District has lost $12,728,664 in State Aid promised, but not delivered.
For 2014-15, the District proposes the use of unrestricted tax certiorari reserve funds in the amount of $1,213,236 to balance the budget. In accordance with the District’s Corrective Action Plan in response to the New York State Comptroller’s Audit Report, the District anticipates the allocation of $1,000,0000 from the liquidation of encumbered purchase orders for tax certiorari to be applied to the 2014-15 budget.
Community members are encouraged to stay informed throughout the budget development process by attending the Board budget workshops. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 and Tuesday, April 8.
Information regarding the budget development process can be found on the District’s budget webpage. Budget-related questions may be sent to email@example.com.
[January 16, 2014] At the January 14 Ramapo Central School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas S. Adams offered a preliminary look at the anticipated 2014-15 budget development process.
Dr. Adams announced that his budget recommendations for 2014-15 will:
- remain within the New York State tax cap;
- maintain programs at existing levels, with reductions, if any, based solely on declining student enrollment; and,
- utilize a portion of the funds liquidated according to the District’s Corrective Action Plan approved by the Board of Education, which has been submitted to the Office of the State Comptroller, to cover most of the anticipated budget shortfall, estimated at $5 million.
In addition, Dr. Adams stated that despite any rumors to the contrary, there will be no buildings recommended for closure.
Community members are encouraged to stay informed throughout the 2014-15 budget development process by attending Board budget workshops. Workshops will be held as follows:
Tuesday, February 4 at Montebello Elementary School
Tuesday, March 18, Location To Be Determined
Tuesday, April 8, Location to Be Determined
Budget Adoption: Wednesday, April 23, Location To Be Determined
Information regarding the budget development process—and more—can be found on the District’s Budget page under “Quick Links”. Budget-related questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.