Public hearing this week on Catskill's $46M school budget
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Catskill school board will hold a public hearing this week on the district's proposed $46 million budget for the 2021-22 school year. The spending plan comes with a 2 percent increase in the tax levy. The district plans to transfer $2.7 million from its fund balance to keep the budget under the state tax cap of 4.15 percent. Revenue from two PILOT agreements, Bogart Solar and Athens Generating Plant, will contribute about $10,500 to the budget. The proposed plan increases spending by 7.39 percent over the current year. The district is looking at a slight decrease in state aid of roughly 3 percent. “The district is legally allowed to retain no more than 4 percent of the 2021-2022 budget as unappropriated fund balance,” according to the budget proposal. In terms of expenses, it is difficult to put a price tag on the impact COVID-19 has had on the district, Business Manager Lissa Jilek said. “The district has had a year to adjust to COVID expenses from additional cleaning, PPE products and staffing changes,” she said. Expenses related to the pandemic are expected to decrease as students return to school full-time, Jilek said. The district is adding two academic intervention teachers to the middle school, two prevention counselors by way of a contract with Twin Counties, two teaching assistants at the high school, one fitness center coordinator and one digital media advisor at the middle school — at the cost of $451,000. Debt service to be paid for the $40.8 million capital project in the coming school year totals $564,400, Jilek said. The first phase of the capital project includes a new middle school gym, upgrading the track, converting the soccer field into a turf field and creating new pick-up and drop-off areas for parents at the elementary school. A public hearing on the spending plan will be held 6 p.m., Wed., May 5, in the Catskill High School library. The annual budget vote and school board election will take place May 18. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.