Education, Lead Stories

School district adopts 2017-2018 budget

The Harrison Central School District adopted its $100.5 million budget for the upcoming academic year while managing to keep it unchanged from when it was first drafted.

With its adopted 2017-2018 budget, the school district accomplished staying under the state-mandated tax cap while allowing for a $1.96 million increase in spending over the current budget. The district was able to stay under the 1.26 percent tax cap by allowably overriding it with $2.55 million in exclusions.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Louis Wool previously told the Review that drafting the budget came with a sense of relief this year, considering the difficult nature of remaining under the cap.

According to Bob Salierno, assistant superintendent of business, an $800,000 carry-over from the current budget, plus $200,000 from the employee retirement fund helped the school district balance its budget.

With its approval, the school district will remain qualified for AAA bond rating, which typically calls for school district reserve funds to be around 10 percent of its total annual budget.

The 2017-2018 budget preserves all current programs and adds 6.9 academic-based positions, amongst several other roles for sports.

One full-time position will be added at Louis M. Klein Middle School for music, art, physical education and the English as a New Language program, ENL, which offers non-native speakers the opportunity to improve their English skills. The budget will also add 2.5 positions in the elementary schools for special education of art, music, physical education and ENL.

Additionally, 3.4 full-time positions will be added for adaptive theater, ENL, the English Language Arts program, science, business and technology at Harrison High School. Those positions are also designated for dance, music and art, and will accommodate growing enrollment, which always can pose a potential concern for school districts.

Another full-time position is designated for instructional support at the high school’s Learning Center.

The budget also calls for several capital improvements.

With an increase in spending, the adopted budget calls for two separate capital projects. Funding is designated for partially replacing the high school’s roof and resurfacing the school’s track.

The two improvement projects will accompany $46.5 million in upgrades that were approved for borrowing through a public referendum last October that drew an overwhelming amount of support from school district voters.

The budget will be voted on by the public on May 16, and only requires a simple majority of approval to pass since it’s under the tax cap.

Wool and a representative from the Board of Education could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

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