MIDDLEPORT — The Royalton-Hartland school district is seeking voters' approval of its 2020-2021 budget, which drives a 2.2% ($230,000) increase in the property tax levy.

The $27.3 million budget projects a $1.1 million increase in year-over-year spending. District Superintendent Henry Stopinski attributed more than half of the increase, $600,000, to the district's renewed student transportation contract.

Other drivers of increased spending include special education needs and contractual compensation increases for employees, Stopinski said.

Student programming cuts are not shown in the budget. Stopinski said staffing will be redistributed to cover the gaps created by retiring instructors who are not being replaced, and support staff will be assigned more efficiently.

The decision to make greater use of fewer staff members is made in light of continued declining student enrollment.

"We're decreasing about 10 children per year right now," Stopinski said. "We think it's going to bottom out in two years and start going in the other direction."

Alongside judging the 2020-2021 budget, Roy-Hart voters are asked to permit establishment of capital reserve funds for technology and vehicles / heavy equipment. Proposition 2 on the mailed ballot calls for authorizing a protected fund for replacing smart boards, computers and the like. Proposition 3 does the same for vehicles, machinery and equipment. Either fund could hold up to $500,000 of general reserve funds, that is, money previously raised by the district and not spent.

The propositions call for allowing creation of the reserve funds, but not the immediate transfer of any cash into them.

"Under our current situation, we don't see us putting any actual money into it," Stopinski said. 

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