Board of education approves budget proposal; residents to vote May 21

Fayetteville-Manlius School District officials are proposing to use additional funds allocated to F-M in the enacted state budget to decrease the amount of money the district previously planned to raise from taxpayers to balance the 2019-20 proposed $85.9 million school budget.

The district’s preliminary 2019-20 tax levy increase of 3.17% was based on the Governor’s January executive budget proposal, which only allocated a foundation aid increase of $94,458 to the district. Aid figures approved March 31 by the state Legislature show F-M’s foundation aid, which is the district’s base operating aid from the state, increasing by $172,373.

By using the additional aid in the final state budget to reduce F-M’s tax levy increase, the district is able to propose an increase of 2.94%, which is estimated to generate a tax rate increase of about 0.24%—or $6.21 on $100,000 of taxable value—for residents in the town of Manlius. (The town of Manlius makes up the majority of homeowners within the school district.)

“Our goal each year is 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. “This budget proposal maintains student programming and services, adds critical academic supports and enhances our ongoing security improvements.”

On April 8, the F-M Board of Education approved the administration’s proposed $85,874,682 spending plan for the 2019-20 school year, which includes the 2.94% tax levy increase of $1,813,843 compared to the current 2018-19 budget. Because the proposal is below the district’s 3.16 tax levy increase limit, or cap, a simple majority of voters will need to approve the budget for it to pass.

The tax levy is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. It is one of the factors used to calculate the tax rate, which is typically less than the tax levy because of growth in the property tax base.

If voters approve the budget on May 21, the budget would maintain existing programming for students and include funds for enhancing academic initiatives and security measures, including certain recommendations made by the Safety and Security Community Task Force.

The district has two primary revenue sources: state aid and the tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. Due to reductions in state aid over the last decade, the tax levy has continued to fund a greater share of the school budget.

State aid would make up 23 percent of the district’s 2019-20 proposed budget while taxpayers would fund 74 percent.

Security enhancements

The 2019-20 proposed budget includes about $250,000 to address enhanced security districtwide based upon recommendations made by the community task force in the following areas:

  • Facility access and security;
  • Emergency communications/School information and resource officer;
  • Training; and
  • Mental health.

Community budget meetings

The district will be holding two community budget forums so residents may learn more about the proposed budget and ask questions.

  • May 7: 6:30 p.m., Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville
  • May 9: 2 p.m., Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave, Manlius