While much is in flux regarding school budgets and elections, at this time the Iroquois Central School Board is moving forward with its financial discussions.
The district is looking at a property tax cap levy just over 2 percent. At the same time, early projections show revenue about $677,000 below estimated expenses for next year’s budget.
The board held a budget discussion at its March 18 meeting. Business Administrator John Wolski said they still needed numbers from the state regarding financial aid that would come to the district, so the revenue lines were current estimates.
A new update that was announced last weekend, after the meeting, is that all school board elections have been delayed until at least after June 1. This had been planned for May 19. Reports out of the governor’s office have also noted that revenue streams for the state are drastically down as many places are shut down or businesses are operating at a lower capacity, bringing in less sales tax revenue that can go to the state, and then school districts. A state budget is normally due by April 1, but the fluctuating stock market and changes due to the spread of Covid-19 have appeared to alter that deadline.
For Iroquois, the tax cap levy means the district can bring in an extra $633,000 through taxes collected from district residents.
Next year’s budget estimates show the largest increase in expenses is related to employee benefits – something Wolski said is the same for all school districts. That is listed at around $598,000.
Superintendent Douglas Scofield noted that some of the increase was part of mandated stipulations by the state, but also because the district added some new employees last year and the increase would cover additional health policies.
Wolski said the district was looking at cost savings in workers’ compensation of about $25,000, and with some refinancing of district loans, there could be a $30,000 a year in savings going forward.
School board member Chuck Specht said he was worried about how the market fluctuations would impact future costs for the district in regard to employee benefits. He said in the past when the market went down – the district had to pay additional costs to make up the difference.
Wolski said that would likely be the case, and those increases normally arrived a year or two after a market swing and he expected it to be the same in the future for the school. He said the district had some protections in place to handle the increase, with its teacher and employee retirement savings accounts, but those would only last for so long.
The district will next meet on April 8 at 7 p.m. The meeting in March was streamed live online for people to view as no one from the public was allowed to attend in efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. The April meeting will likely be the same, and people can view it by going to the school website, www.iroquoiscsd.org/