Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will go to the polls May 18 to vote on a proposed $93.4 million 2021-22 school budget that maintains existing student programming and supports the district’s strategic plan.
On April 19, the F-M Board of Education approved the administration’s proposed $93,417,637 spending plan for the 2021-22 school year, which includes a 1.1% tax levy increase of $731,714 compared to the current 2020-21 budget.
The proposal is based upon a full return to five-day, in-person instruction and includes all co-curricular and athletic activities that were offered to grades K-12 students prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also earmarks about $2.1 million for student support related to academics, health and safety.
“Under this proposal, there are no plans to make any reductions to educational programs or activities that we offer to students,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Services William Furlong said.
The district has two primary revenue sources: state aid and the tax levy. The tax levy is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. Other smaller revenue sources, such as interest income, make up the district’s remaining revenue sources.
State aid, which is based upon the recently-enacted New York state budget, makes up 26.1% of the district’s 2021-22 proposal. On April 6, lawmakers adopted a state budget that significantly increases Foundation Aid, which is the primary source of general purpose operating aid for schools.
F-M expects to see a $1.6 million Foundation Aid increase for the 2021-22 school year. The state budget outlines a three-year phase in for Foundation Aid, meaning that districts should receive the level of aid they are entitled to by the 2023-24 school year.
The district’s tax levy comprises 71% of the proposed budget. The combination of inflation, increase in the taxable growth factor and the impact of new debt on the capital exclusion results in a proposed tax levy increase of 1.1%. Based upon this increase, the tax rate – which is calculated by dividing the total amount of the levy by the total taxable assessed value in a community – is estimated to remain unchanged.
Furlong said all other revenue sources have been reviewed and adjusted in order to reflect expected revenues while maintaining a conservative approach.
Expenditures are increasing due to contractual salary increases, health insurance, and retirement system costs, but mostly due to new debt accrued from recently-completed and ongoing building projects at Enders Road Elementary School, Fayetteville-Manlius High School and Wellwood Middle School.
“Each year, we strive to develop a budget that meets the needs of the district’s students, staff and facilities and reflects the community feedback we receive on its priorities and expectations of the district,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.
Community budget meetings
On Wednesday, April 28, the district will hold a virtual community budget forum so residents may learn more about the proposed budget and ask questions. The 6:30 p.m. forum is open to all F-M community members.
The Tuesday, May 4, virtual Parent Council meeting will also focus on the proposed 2021-22 budget. The virtual meeting begins at 9 a.m. and is open to all F-M parents and guardians.
School district officials are also collaborating on the production of a school budget video that will be made available on the district website for those who are unable to attend either of the public meetings.