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Coxsackie-Athens district proposing $34M spending plan for 2021-22 school year

Apr 20, 2021 6:00 am

Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Coxsackie-Athens School District has proposed a $34 million budget for the 2021-22 school year. The proposal reflects an increase of nearly $789,000, or 2.37 percent, over the existing spending plan. The proposal includes a tax levy increase of 1.97 percent, which is within the state-mandated cap. There are no cuts to personnel, services or programs, Assistant Superintendent of School Services Leslie Copleston said during a virtual budget presentation last week. “We knew we needed to be thoughtful in how we move forward and how we use our monies,” Copleston said. The Coxsackie-Athens district received $3.6 million in federal aid via the Coronavirus Relief and Recovery Supplemental Appropriation Act approved in December, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed in March, Copleston said. In the coming school year, administrative costs will decline by 3.31 percent, while program expenses are projected to rise by 2.64 percent and capital expenditures will go up 5.27 percent. In a rare occurrence, health insurance costs declined by 4.79 percent. “Typically you don’t see a reduction in health insurance, but what we found is that people didn’t go to the doctor during the pandemic as they normally would, so as a result, the cost of our health insurance went down significantly,” Copleston said. Salaries have increased 5.034 percent; special education costs went up by 4.487 percent; and retirement expenses increased by 2.88 percent. The district is awaiting guidance from the State Education Department on how the federal funding — which must be spent by 2024 — can be used, Superintendent Randall Squier said. Some of the funds will likely have to be set aside for summer school and used to address learning loss during the pandemic, he added. Public hearings on the 2021-22 budget will take place ar 6:30 p.m., May 4, in the Coxsackie Elementary School cafeteria, and at 6:30 p.m., May 6, the Edward J. Arthur Elementary School in Athens. The annual school board election and budget vote will be held May 18. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.