It’s that time of year again: budget season. School districts across New York State have been diligently preparing proposals for 2017-18 spending plans to go before voters. We think it is important to be open about the annual budget so our community can make informed decisions when casting votes on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
The Hudson City School District (HCSD) is pleased to propose a 2017-18 budget that supports our Destination Graduation goals to raise the bar, close the achievement gap, align curriculum and instruction, and promote the social emotional development of our students. We are proud of our accomplishments so far and are committed to continuous improvement.
The $46,566,172 proposed budget not only maintains all current programs, but provides increased student supports, enrichment activities and enhancements to programs. The proposed budget increases spending by $655,801, which is a 1.43% increase from the 2016-17 budget. The District would be able to continue the wide variety of student supports and programs without a large increase in the general budget due in part to offsetting expenses with grant funding whenever possible.
The process used in the development of the 2017-18 budget was a direct result of New York State’s Property Tax Cap Law. This year, the maximum tax levy calculated for the HCSD was 2.81 percent. However, the Board of Education decided to reduce the tax levy for taxpayers and propose a budget with a 2.19% tax levy increase (visit www.hudsoncityschooldistrict.com/budget to learn more about why the commonly used phrase “2% tax cap” is misleading). We are grateful for the support the community has given to us over the past years and want to return our support to the community when we can.
Additionally, NYS offers a tax rebate program to STAR eligible taxpayers based on the District’s ability to stay within the allowable tax levy and have a plan implemented to save at least 1% of the levy over three years. The District has met these requirements. Therefore, if you are a STAR eligible taxpayer with a primary residence in the district and a household income of $200,000 or less, you can expect to receive a rebate check next year.
This budget was developed with the intent to maintain and improve all programs within our schools. In an effort to better provide our students with a balanced academic and co-curricular education, we are pleased to present a budget that includes the addition of several key staff.
To preserve recommended class sizes in accordance with the Hudson Teachers’ Association contract, the budget would add one Grade 5 teacher and one Grade 6 teacher. A secondary-level math coach would be hired for additional support in mathematics. The proposed budget would also add a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Behavior Specialist to work with all students throughout the district, as well as an Associate Principal at the elementary level.
Last year’s budget added a part-time music position to accommodate the growing student interest in the arts; however, student interest continues to swell. Therefore, the proposed budget includes increasing the music position from part-time to full-time. We are also looking to add an art educator for a similar reason.
In addition to voting on the proposed budget, residents will elect one member to the Board of Education and consider a proposition to donate a small piece of land behind John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) to the City of Hudson.
Voters will be asked to select a candidate to fill one vacant seat on HCSD’s Board of Education. The term of one member of the Board, President Carrie Otty, is expiring and must be filled for a three-year term. Mrs. Otty has graciously decided to run again. No one else picked up a petition so she is the only candidate on this year’s ballot. Taxpayers may either vote for Mrs. Otty or write in a candidate of choice who resides within the HCSD. Visit our “Budget Information” webpage to learn more about Mrs. Otty.
The ballot will also include a proposition to authorize the HCSD to donate a small corner of land behind JLE to the City of Hudson for the purpose of building sidewalks. This is related to the Safe Routes to School grant awarded to the City in 2014, which would help build additional sidewalks so city children can have safe places to walk to and from school. In order to install sidewalks in this area, voter approval is needed to authorize the school district to donate a 1521 square foot piece of land to the City (see a map on our “Budget Information” webpage). The City would maintain the sidewalks and the school district would implement a pedestrian safety curriculum.
We remain strongly committed to our Destination Graduation goals and, in partnership with our community, our main focus is on preparing all students for college, career and citizenship through multiple academic, extracurricular and civic opportunities. To learn more about this year’s proposed budget, school board vacancies, and polling locations visit our website and click on the “Budget Information” link.
Please exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 from noon to 9 p.m., at the polling place of the city/town in which you reside, as follows:
- District 1: Hudson – John L. Edwards Primary School, 360 State Street
- District 2: Greenport, Stottville/Stockport, Ghent – Greenport Pumper Co. No. 1, 216 Green Street
- District 3: Claverack, Livingston, Taghkanic – Claverack Fire House, 67 State Route 23
It is an honor to serve as Superintendent of the Hudson City School District. As community partners, we can advance the intellectual, social and emotional development of all students to prepare them for college, career and citizenship. Thank you for all of your support.