Corinth school board adopts $23.19 million budget with no tax levy increase

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Copy of article, written by Michael Goot, owned by The Post Star: 

CORINTH — Corinth Central School is adding a prekindergarten program as part of a proposed $23.194 million budget that contains no increase in the tax levy.

The Board of Education on Tuesday adopted a budget to put before voters. It increases spending by about $402,000, or 1.76% from the current year’s budget.

The tax levy would stay flat at $9.75 million.

The district is adding a prekindergarten program with 39 slots. The district is hiring two teachers for the program.

In addition to the prekindergarten program, Business Administrator Sue Foley said the budget includes funding for an elementary teacher, foreign language teacher and a math teacher and two student slots for the advanced International Baccalaureate program.

There would also be a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) program added at the elementary school.

Many areas of the budget are essentially flat, according to Foley.

The district’s tax cap under the state formula is 0.2%, which would have meant that the budget could only increase by $18,828. With such a small increase, Foley said school officials decided to keep the levy flat.

Property taxes would fund 42% of the budget. State aid would make up 43%. Foley said the budget is using Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed aid figures and budgeting to receive about $10 million in aid.

The rest is funded through miscellaneous revenue and the district is transferring about $250,000 from reserve funds to balance the budget, according to Foley.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Stratton said he is pleased with how the district’s fiscal picture has improved under Foley’s leadership. That is reflected in this budget, which does not increase taxes and enhances the program.

“We are adding staff. We are adding the entire (prekindergarten) program. (We) just passed a very successful capital project,” he said.

Voters last month approved a $12 million project, which includes upgrades to the front of the middle and high school entrance, classroom renovations and an expansion and renovation of the auditorium.

The district still has adequate reserves to weather the storm, Stratton added.

“This is because of prudent planning. We need to commend her,” he said, referring to Foley.

In addition, voters on May 18 will have to vote on two propositions: spending up to $250,000 from the reserve fund to purchase school buses and approving a $69,457 budget for Corinth Public Library.

Also, two seats are up on the Board of Education — a five-year seat currently held by Lori Baker and a one-year seat held by Meredith Jenkins.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

Mar 11, 2021