Hyde Park School District adopts final budget with 2.03% tax increase

The Hyde Park Central School District Board of Education voted to adopt its new budget on April 24 and put forward a school bus proposition to go before voters May 20.

The district’s 2014-15 budget comes in at $87,399,907 in general operating costs, with a 3 percent, or $2.6 million, budget-to-budget increase. The estimated tax levy increase still remains 2.03 percent. Wayne Kurlander, Assistant Superintendent of Business, told the board at the April 24 meeting that if $3,500,000 from the fund balance and other reserves was not used, the tax levy increase would have been 8.31 percent.

Two BOE positions are up for election but only one incumbent, Douglas Hieter, president of the board, is running. Hieter has served four terms, one of them as president. Glenn Watson, whose term ends at the end of June, indicated at the March 13 BOE meeting that he would not seek reelection after serving four three-year terms. “By the way, I will not be running again so nobody should consider not running because I’m here,” he said.

However, no candidate has stepped forward, which leaves one spot open to a write-in candidate or someone chosen by special election at a later date.

Proposition II is a school bus replacement plan, which consists of six 66-passenger buses, totaling $667,380; three 16-passenger vans, totaling $166,380; and one wheelchair van, costing $68,060. The total cost is $901,820, but when the district’s state aid is added, the cost to taxpayers is $404,917. “In order to keep costs level, this is the bus replacement schedule outlined in our 12-year replacement plan,” Kurlander told the board.

If the budget does not pass the May 20 vote, the district has two choices: put up a second budget or go straight to the contingency budget. The contingency budget would be $85,773,102, a 1.92 percent decrease from the proposed budget that would carry no tax increase. If a second budget is voted down, the district must go to the contingency budget, which would mean reductions in athletics, Kindergarten, staff, and other programs, said Superintendent Greer Rychcik.

A public hearing on the budget will be held May 12 at the district office at 7pm. It is also the last date for residents to register to vote. Residents who need help registering can call 845-229-4005. The budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 20 at Haviland Middle School from 6am to 9pm.

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