The Onteora School District’s draft budget includes a tax increase of 1.78 percent and spending increase of 2.41 percent for the 2021-22 school year.
The $59.3 million budget calls for a $45,557,126 million tax levy, an increase of $798,588.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Monica LaClair said the draft budget is based on an increase in state aid over the current year. Despite being one of the wealthier districts based on tax revenue, Onteora is one of only a handful in the state receiving a projected increase in state aid. LaClair remains “cautiously optimistic” the funding won’t be reduced in the final phases of budget negotiations. State aid is projected to increase $539,183 from $9,283,995 to $9,823,178.
She also noted the aid seems to be based on a so-called “normal year” while many expenses this year, such as transportation are much lower due to the hybrid model of part remote and part in-person learning.
LaClair noted that while Onteora has a relatively high tax levy, the tax rate is lower compared to other districts because the burden is spread over a larger area. Onteora also has a very large taxpayer, the City of New York, due to the Ashokan Reservoir, that brings in revenue but does not send children to the schools.
The budget includes more funding for summer school, academic and mental health support in anticipation of students needing more support to transition to a full day of in-person learning assuming school is in full session next year.
“We’ve also increased after school homework help and supervision lines,” she said.