Legislation changes impact education

Halfway through the summer already and it seems like we just held graduation ceremonies a week ago.  Summer school is in full swing with lots of excited little ones running around the elementary as is the usual case.
No large construction projects this summer, so everyone is breathing a little easier and I haven’t heard “are they going to be done by school?” asked once this summer.
It was all worth the wait the last three years, but having a summer off from dirt and construction is a nice change.
We are beginning to understand what the changes the legislature is meaning for our district’s funding for the future. One major change that takes effect in 2014-15 is the funding of all-day kindergarten.
Our district has offered full–day kindergarten for a number of years at no cost, while many districts have charge a substantial sum to partake in this option. This will be an easy change for our district as we currently utilize space for these classes.
One major change that could be of benefit to both our district and our taxpayers is the change in the way operating levy dollars are both funded and distributed to districts.
We are currently in the last year of a $500 per student operating levy which would need to be renewed this fall, should the board decide that is the best option. Currently this brings in $625,000 to our district of which $44,000 is state equalization aid and is not raised from local taxes.
The state has given the authority to the board to levy $300 per student in referendum dollars which brings the district $324,000 in revenue, of which $160,000 is state equalization aid.
The state has also authorized a $424 per student location equity levy which generates $458,000 in revenue with $59,000 of this being state equalization aid.
So what is the bottom line on this program? If we decide to go to a vote this fall and are successful, we generate a total of $625,000 which equates to a tax on homes with a value of $175,000 of $164 per year.
This coming school year will be the 10th year that this has been in effect.
If the board decides to levy what the state allows, we generate a total of $782,000 which equates to a tax on homes with a value of $175,000 of $160 per year or $4 less per year for $157,000 more in revenue.
The board will be discussing and deciding on this matter at the July board meeting, and will have time for public comment during the meeting as always. Thanks for your support of our district. See you in the paper.

Brian Corlett is superintendent of Central Public Schools. Corlett’s Cracker Barrel is a regular feature of The NYA Times.