Budget vote, board elections set for May 21
The Herkimer Central School Board of Education approved a budget proposal on Wednesday that prioritizes increased educational and community opportunities and expands mental health services for the 2019-20 school year.
The proposed $24,210,000 budget approved by the board its April 10 meeting will go before voters on Tuesday, May 21.
The spending plan calls for a 3.9% spending reduction compared with 2018-19 and carries a tax levy increase of 2.26% (less than the district’s “cap” of 2.3%).
More info: 2018-19 budget numbers
The budget proposal would preserve existing programs and offer new opportunities, including expanding agriculture, computer science and business offerings at the Jr./Sr. High School, and opening the pool to the community.
Meeting mental health needs
Another budget priority is to hire an additional mental health professional to provide more counseling services for students.
“Increasing our mental health staffing and services has become as critical as our nutrition programs in terms of ensuring students are ready to learn at school,” Superintendent Robert J. Miller said.
The budget proposal would also replace one teaching position split between physical education and driver’s education with one full-time P.E. teacher and one part-time driver’s education teacher, to fill a vacancy created by a retirement. It would also continue the successful VP-Tech and Project Lead the Way programs.
State aid down by 8.3%
With an -8.3% drop in state aid, the district has proposed using $650,000 from its fund balance and increasing the tax levy by 2.23% so that Herkimer students can continue to benefit from valuable programs while the district continues to meet the rising costs of employee salaries and benefits.
Combined athletic director and assistant principal positions, and unfilled business official and assistant superintendent positions, continue in an effort to restrain costs.
The proposal also includes a $100,000 capital outlay project to install electric hand dryers, replace flush valves and upgrade lighting at the elementary school.
Voters will also elect three representatives to the Board of Education, and will vote on the public library budget and Library Board of Trustees.
More info: Voter Information