Starpoint Central School District's proposed 2020-2021 budget drives a 2.97% increase in the property tax levy, the maximum allowed under the state tax cap, despite a $2.2 million reduction in year-over-year projected spending.
The bottom line of the $55.1 million spending plan is lower due to reduced debt service, after the district finished paying off two serial bonds, according to business administrator Jonathan Andrews.
"Our debt service is going down, but accordingly the building aid that we get from the state will be going down because we're paying less in debt service," Andrews said.
Existing student programs including athletics are fully intact and "some" retiring teachers will be replaced in 2020-2021, Andrews said.
Because student enrollment in the district remains on the rise — Starpoint is adding 50 to 75 new students every year — the district can't afford to not replace departing teachers, Andrews said.
"We've had an increase in enrollment for the last number of years. People are moving out here or building here, and sending their kids to school, which is good. We think we have an excellent program here," he said. "We do what we can with what we have."
The district will pay higher costs for student transportation, employee health insurance and employee pension contributions in the next fiscal year, and administration is waiting to see whether a federal stimulus will go through to make up for possible state aid cuts, Andrews added.