The Kingston City School District’s Board of Education last week unanimously adopted a $203,123,518 million budget for the 2022-23 school year that if approved by voters next month would increase the local tax levy by 2.98 percent.
The tax levy increase as presented in the budget proposal is below the district’s 3.64 cap introduced by New York State, and it follows a 2021-22 budget which didn’t raise the tax levy from the prior year.
The budget proposes a $7.14 million increase over the nearly $196 million 2021-22 spending plan, and includes increases in employee benefits of $3.09 million to a total of $60.5 million; general support ($1.42 million to a total of $14.12 million); programs for students with disabilities ($623,576 to a total of $38.62 million); debt service ($946,762 to a total of $11.1 million), operations ($145,485 to a total of $4.94 million), and instructional support ($182,914 to a total of $3.83 million).
Also likely to increase substantially is the cost of student transportation, budgeted at around $11.09 million, a jump of $1.53 million, or 15.95 percent. During a meeting in early April, Deputy Superintendent for Human Resources and Business Allen Olsen called transportation costs “a bit of a crapshoot” because of local bus companies experiencing staffing difficulties, and also due to fuel costs and other areas of inflation.
The draft budget isn’t all increases. The cost of BOCES and special services are likely to drop by $238,533 to a total of $4,661,467. And the overall cost of regular school education is expected to be $45.2 million, a decrease of $3.09 million.
There is also the potential for good news coming in the district’s state aid package, which the draft budget has at $83.14 million, a roughly $7 million (9.19 percent) increase. Those figures sometimes increase even further after the legislature counters the governor’s budget proposal.
The Board of Education met on Wednesday, April 20 to adopt the 2022-23 budget. Voters will hit the polls on Tuesday, May 17 to determine the fate of the budget.