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Budget Community Letter
Dear Schenevus Central School Community:

I wanted to take some time to share with you our current budget situation and hopefully put an end to some speculation about reasons for our financial situation.  Please feel free to contact me after reading this, with any questions.  

Fact:  There is rumor in the community about Schenevus losing money due to a grant that was not received.  This is not true.  At no time did Schenevus lose a grant or not file for a grant to which we were entitled. We have not spent monies from a grant prematurely.

Fact:  Over the past several years almost all state and federal grant allocation amounts have decreased due to declining enrollment and grant funding constraints.  We are not getting as much money as a revenue source from grants as we have in the past.

Fact:  Over the past several years, state aid has not increased as much as overall operating expenses have increased.  This has caused us to rely on reserves and fund balance (savings)to make up for rising costs.

Fact:  Since the start of the 2% tax cap, we have been forced to stay within a certain percentage tax increase each year.  We have never proposed a tax increase higher than the allowable cap.  For every 1% tax increase, we receive approximately $32,500 in revenue.  Overall operating expenses increase greater than what is allowable to collect in property tax increases each year.

Fact:  Schenevus has not cut program or staff to accommodate the increase in operating costs.  Instead the decision was made to use reserves and fund balance to cover operating cost increases.

Fact:  Schenevus has had to borrow money due to a lack of available cash flow.  This money is referred to as a RAN (Revenue Anticipation Note).  Our fiscal year begins July 1.  This is a short-term loan that allows for cash flow until we begin to receive revenue from property taxes in early fall, and state aid in early spring.  Since we no longer have available fund balance to cover cash flow, a RAN has become necessary and will continue to be necessary until we are able to build fund balance.

Fact:  In May 2018, voters approved the proposed budget for the 2018-2019 school year.  In an effort to not raise taxes or cut expenses, which could have resulted in cutting staff and program, the district used its remaining fund balance and allowable reserves of approximately $400,000 to cover the deficit.

Fact:  As we begin to budget for next year, 2019-2020, with no reserve balance and increasing operating costs, we find ourselves at an approximately $500,000 budget deficit.  This will be a very difficult budget planning process over the next several months.  Our options at this point are to cut expenses which includes staff and program, raise taxes above the cap or a combination of both options.  We do not have fund balance to rely on as we have in the past.

Fact:  Moving forward we need to do what is best for the students and taxpayers of our district.  There is no one specific reason we have reached this point.  The best explanation is an increase in operating costs without an offset in revenue from aid, grants and taxes.  Without an increase in revenue we have had to use our savings.  We can no longer use our savings.  

Please know that the BOE and I are committed to making Schenevus CSD solvent and to continue offering a quality program where students can learn in a safe, nurturing environment.  I encourage you to attend Board of Education meetings for further information regarding budget decisions.  There will also be information in the upcoming budget newsletter and at budget hearings.  Your input is greatly appreciated as we make difficult decisions regarding our school.

I wish you a healthy, happy and safe New Year 2019!

Sincerely,

Theresa Carlin
Schenevus Superintendent
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Schenevus Central School District
159 Main Street, Schenevus, NY 12155
Phone 607 638 5881 | Fax 607 638 5600
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