The tax levy increase of 0.11% in our proposed 2016-2017 school budget is the lowest in more than a decade. Based on the New York State Tax cap calculation, this small increase is good news for local taxpayers. It also presents challenges for our school district operations.
Our goal is always to maintain program, and hopefully expand, opportunities for our students. In order to maintain program, we require revenues that keep up with expenditures (most of which are mandated in one way or another). A 0.11% tax levy allows us to collect approximately $35,000 more in tax dollars than we did in 2015-2016. At the same time, our expenditures often increase by several hundreds of thousands of dollars. These increases are largely due to established contractual obligations (e.g., salary increments, health insurance, mandated retirement costs, etc.), unforeseen student-related costs (e.g. special education, homelessness, legal fees, etc.), and necessary capital improvements.
Closing the gap between revenues and expenditures is always our greatest fiscal challenge. This year, we were able to close the revenue/expenditure gap in the following ways: 1) New York State returned monies taken from school districts in 2008 during the economic recession; 2) a reduction in mandated retirement system costs; 3) the retirement of several long-serving employees; 4) the use of health insurance reserve funds. The combination of these four variables allows us to maintain, and in some instances, improve our program offerings.
I feel obligated to remind taxpayers that the current structure of school finance is severely flawed. Every year, schools are placed in the fiscal position of having to bridge a structural deficit. Put more plainly, public schools are caught between funding mandated expenditures and staying under a mandated tax cap. This is not an enlightened approach to providing a free and appropriate public education for all. I encourage all citizens to advocate for a more equitable and predictable approach to funding our public schools. Our children deserve it.
Paul Finch, Superintendent
Thursday, May 26, 2016 – School is in session this day due to the snow day we used on April 4, 2016.
Please mark your calendars accordingly.
Policies for All Employees for 2015-16 School Year
In its continued commitment to reducing paper consumption and making resources available in electronic format, the district is making the following policies for employees available in PDF format. Staff are expected to review these documents before signing the required acknowledgement form and submitting it to their building's main office secretary. If you have any questions about the policies, please contact the District Clerk Elena Maskell at 845-758-2241 ext. 55010. To open the policy, click on its name.
Amy is our K-5 Instructional Technology Specialist and she has won a $2,000.00 grant from the Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley. Amy will use the funds to purchase equipment to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities in K-5 classrooms.
For more information, please read policy #1002.
If you enjoy working with students and helping them learn to their full potential, we need you.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....and what that may mean for school closings and delays.
Familiar Faces Join the Ranks of RHCSD Staff
School delays, cancellations and changes in dismissal times will be posted on the district website and its Twitter feed @rhcsd, recorded on the message center (845-758-2241) and shared with area television and radio stations. Parents are advised to keep emergency contact information current by notifying the main office of your child's school if phone numbers or email addresses change.