District’s budget proposal includes significant increase in state aid

Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will go to the polls May 16 toThis is an image of a pie graph and text vote on a proposed $104,966,845 school budget for the 2023-24 school year that maintains existing student programming and supports the district’s strategic plan.

The district’s tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget, comprises 66.8% of the proposed budget revenue.

The tax levy increase is projected to be 3.82%, which is at the tax cap as established under state law. Based upon this increase, the tax rate – which is calculated by dividing the total amount of the tax levy by the total taxable assessed value in a community – is also estimated to increase.

During a budget proposal presentation on March 27, F-M Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Bradley Corbin used an example estimating the tax rate impact on a Town of Manlius property, using assessment values and equalization rates from the prior year, that would project an annual increase of 3.82% or $0.89 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The combination of inflation, salary increases due to contractual agreements and higher insurance premium costs are the main areas driving the 6.10% budget increase for 2023-24.

According to Corbin, if these driving factors are removed, the district’s proposed budget would increase by approximately 2.09%.

The district has two primary revenue sources: state aid and the tax levy. Other smaller revenue sources, such as interest income, make up the district’s revenue sources.

State aid accounts for approximately 30.4% of the district’s 2023-24 budget revenue. The state’s proposal shows F-M receiving a total allocation of $31,928,660 for 2023-24, which is a $3,611,438 increase in state aid compared to the current projected actual 2022-23 school year. State aid in the form of foundation aid increased for F-M by $4.2 million or 29.4% for the 2023-24 school year. This is due to the New York State foundation aid phase-in plan, which provides the district with full funding. Foundation Aid is the district’s primary source of funding for daily school operations.

A portion of the proposal seeks to maintain the district’s current mental health services since federal stimulus funding, which supported a portion of the district’s offerings, has been discontinued. This includes preserving one family-school liaison at each school for a total of six contractual positions, as well as a mental health educator provided by the district’s partnership with Contact Community Services.

Mental health services would also be expanded under the proposed spending plan with the addition of three full-time student engagement specialists to provide mental health support to students, one at each elementary school, and the addition of two Student Assistance Program counselors in support of establishing a drop-in mental health clinic at the high school. The proposal also increases funding for existing mental health programs such as CNY Mental Health Counseling services.

There are no plans to make reductions to staffing or to any of the educational programs and activities that we offer to our students, said Corbin.

The budget proposal was adopted by the F-M Board of Education on April 17.