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Budget Update 2013


Voters pass 2013-14 budget

posted May 22, 2013, 1:00 PM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 6:25 AM ]

[May 22, 2013] On May 21, over 75% of Ramapo Central voters approved the 2013-2014 school budget, which will maintain high-quality academic, athletic and extracurricular programming and remain within the state tax cap.

“On behalf of the entire School District, I extend my thanks and appreciation to our community for their support of this budget and the children of our District during these challenging financial times,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas Adams.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues on the Board of Education, Board President Craig Long said, “Passage of the budget is a victory for our entire community.”

Long went on to comment that “while staff reductions are always difficult to make, we did so in a way that fully maintains the integrity of our educational program while at the same time being responsive to the financial concerns of our taxpayers.”

“The public’s approval of next year’s budget shows all of us how important it is to work together in difficult times,” noted Adams.

The $128,009,853 budget represents a budget-to-budget increase of 0.74% and a tax levy increase of 1.99%.  For more information on the budget, click here.

Voters returned Clarke Osborn for his fourth term and Maureen Danzig for her second term on the Board of Education.  Their new terms will begin July 1, 2013 and conclude June 30, 2016.

District residents to vote May 21

posted May 17, 2013, 7:50 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated May 20, 2013, 7:44 AM ]

[May 17, 2013] Residents of the Ramapo Central School District will vote Tuesday, May 21 on the proposed 2013-14 school budget. The $128,009,853 budget represents a budget-to-budget increase of 0.74% and a tax levy increase of 1.99%. For more information on the proposed budget, click here.

Voters will also elect Board of Education members for two seats, each for a full, three-year term to begin July 1, 2013. Candidates are Maureen Danzig, Steve Forman and Clarke Osborn.

Click here to view a sample ballot.


Please remember to vote. Polls are open from 6am - 9pm. Voters must report to their assigned school budget election district. Not sure where to vote? Call (845) 357-7783 x11234 to confirm your polling place.




Polling locations are as follows:

  • Cherry Lane Elementary School, 1 Heather Drive, Suffern
  • Hillburn Administration Building, 45 Mountain Avenue, Hillburn
  • RP Connor Elementary School, 13 Cypress Road, Suffern
  • Sloatsburg Elementary School, 11 Second Street, Sloatsburg
  • Suffern Middle School, 80 Hemion Road, Suffern

Click here for a map.

Board adopts proposed 2013-2014 budget

posted Apr 24, 2013, 9:23 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Apr 24, 2013, 9:24 AM ]

[April 24, 2013] After a budget development process that has spanned nine months and involved the presentation of more than 500 PowerPoint slides, the Board of Education voted to adopt the proposed 2013-2014 budget at its April 23 meeting.

The adopted budget totals $128,009,853, representing a 0.74% budget-to-budget increase from the 2012-13 school year and a tax levy increase of 1.99%. In order to reduce the budget deficit while remaining within the tax cap, the adopted budget involves $7.1 million in budgetary reductions and $1.2 million of reserve usage.

The school budget vote will held on May 21.

Revised state aid figures announced at April 4 budget workshop

posted Apr 8, 2013, 9:33 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Apr 8, 2013, 9:35 AM ]

[April 8, 2013] The fourth Board of Education budget workshop on April 4 returned to the three questions that have guided the District’s 2013-14 budget development process:
        • What tax levy will the Board of Education support bringing to our community for a vote?
        • What amount of reserve funds does the Board of Education want to allocate in the budget?
        • What guidelines does the Board of Education want the Superintendent to follow regarding programmatic and staff reductions?

Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams and Assistant Superintendent of Business Kelly Seibert provided an overview of what has been an eight-month process with a series of Board presentations, including topics such as fund and balance reserve (August 7), transportation (October 2), athletics (October 16), employee benefits (November 20) and special education (December 4). Adams noted that the presentations are available to the public through BoardDocs.

Seibert reviewed revised state aid figures, which will net the District an additional $483,934 in state aid than had been projected prior to passage of the state budget. However, the District now anticipates a loss of $84,287 in federal Title I and IDEA funding due to sequestration. The net result is a $402,647 overall increase in 2013-14 revenues.

Adams also briefly reviewed the impact of a contingency budget, should the voters reject the District’s proposed budget. He indicated that an additional $2 million in reductions would be needed. Reductions to equipment, public use of facilities and student supplies would be required by law. Other areas potentially targeted for contingency-related reductions would include athletics, elective courses, music and arts programming, security, technology and transportation.

Based on the information presented, Board President Craig Long called for an additional budget workshop to make decisions regarding the use of additional state aid monies, tax levy, reserve fund usage and recommended reductions. The final budget workshop has been scheduled for Thursday, April 18 at 6:30pm.

Adams closed the presentation by answering questions from Board members as well as those submitted by students, parents, staff and community members over the past several weeks. He emphasized that the proposed reduction in music would not impact marching band or students’ access to music and was strictly related to decreased student enrollment at Suffern Middle School. The superintendent also responded to questions on clinical staffing, piercing the tax cap, historic voter approval rates and more. Questions and answers are included in the April 4 presentation posted online.

 Requests to allow a public comment period for what was the last published budget workshop were honored and several attendees made use of the opportunity to share thoughts and pose questions for Board consideration.

The Board will adopt the 2013-14 budget on April 23. The public school budget vote will be held on May 21.

Decreased enrollment drives proposed staffing reductions

posted Apr 2, 2013, 11:22 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Apr 15, 2013, 8:51 AM ]

[April 2, 2013] More than 100 students, staff and community members attended the March 19 Board of Education budget workshop to hear Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams present Phase IV reductions proposed for 2013-14.

“We have tried to identify a way to reduce that still affords extensive educational opportunities to our students, but within the context of the economic realities in which we live,” he explained.

Once again, Adams reviewed the 2013-14 budget development process and the District’s property tax levy limit calculations to date. Of the District’s $10.7 million projected deficit roll over, $7.2 million is attributed to significant cost drivers such as pension, health insurance, salaries and transportation. 

Pension increases alone will total $2.8 million—roughly $700,000 more than will be raised under the revised 1.99% tax levy estimation. Projections indicate that pension costs will reach $10.2 million in 2014-15, double the 2011-12 amount.

Cuts to state aid result in chronic funding loss

As costs have escalated, the District also faces decreased revenues due to the implementation of the Property Tax Levy law and the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), a law enacted to help close the state budget deficit through cuts to school funding.

Under the GEA, the Ramapo Central School District has lost $10.5 million in state aid since 2010-11. By shifting costs to the local level, the burden for making up for lost revenues has fallen on our school district and our community. 

Phase IV reductions would primarily impact middle and high schools

In formulating Phase IV reductions, District leadership conducted a district-wide review of enrollment and class sizes. The rising sixth-grade class will have 52 fewer students than the smallest current grade at Suffern Middle School; overall middle school enrollment is projected to decrease by 24 students.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Stephen Walker presented the following Phase IV reductions, which collectively total $1.7 million:

  • 1.0 FTE Elementary teacher
  • 2.0 FTE Grade 6 Classroom teachers
  • 1.7 FTE Secondary Physical Education teachers
  • 1.3 FTE Secondary Foreign Language teachers
  • 1.0 FTE Secondary Technology/Industrial Arts teacher
  • 0.9 FTE Secondary Art teacher
  • 0.9 FTE Secondary Family and Consumer Science teacher 
  • 0.4 FTE Secondary Digital Literacy teacher
  • 0.4 FTE Secondary STEM teacher
  • 0.6 FTE Secondary Music teacher
  • 2.0 FTE Secondary Special Education teachers
  • 0.4 FTE Secondary Dance teacher
  • 0.4 FTE Video Production teacher
  • 0.4 FTE English teacher
  • 0.5 FTE Business teacher

Walker noted that due to decreased enrollments, elimination of the Grade 6 teaching positions would not impact class size. Special Education reductions would not impact IEPs (individualized education plans) and were also based on declining enrollment.

Content area reductions reflect a comprehensive review of course enrollments. Walker said that administrators had determined that efficiencies could be achieved by preserving classes with historically and projected low enrollment by collapsing them into fewer sections.

Outlook beyond 2013-14 is bleak

With implementation of the current proposed reductions, use of reserves and tax levy of 1.99%, the District could still face estimated deficits of $6.6 million in 2014-15 and $12 million in 2015-16.

Adams and Board President Craig Long thanked those in attendance and asked that they continue to voice their suggestions and ideas.

The fourth budget workshop will be held on April 4 at 6:30pm at the Administrative Offices in Hillburn. 

Community members are invited to attend upcoming budget workshops to stay informed about the budget development process. Although there is no opportunity for public comment during Board workshops, questions and comments regarding the budget may be expressed during the public comment portion of regular Board of Education meetings and via email.

Please note that the next regular Board of Education meeting will be held on April 2 at 7:30pm.

Proposed staffing reductions to narrow budget deficit

posted Mar 12, 2013, 9:41 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 8:48 AM ]

[March 6, 2013] More than 100 students, staff, parents and community members attended the March 5 Board of Education budget workshop presentation delivered by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas Adams and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Steve Walker.

Adams reviewed the 2013-14 budget development process begun last August and the District’s property tax levy limit calculations to date. Of the District’s $10.7 million projected deficit roll over, $7.2 million is attributed to significant cost drivers such as pension, health insurance, salaries and transportation. Pension increases alone will total $2.8 million—nearly $800,000 more than will be raised under the current 2.01% tax levy estimation. 

Proposed Phase I non-personnel reductions that were presented at the February 20 budget workshop were also reviewed. With Phase I reductions, anticipated tax revenues and use of $1.5 million in reserve funds, the District’s budget gap would be narrowed to $5.3 million, to be resolved either through increased revenues, staffing reductions or a combination of the two.

Adams noted that if no reductions were made, a 10.61% tax levy increase would be required to cover the deficit.

“However, since property assessed value has declined, the property tax rate will likely increase two to three percent,” he cautioned. “Adding that to a 10.61% school tax levy increase means that taxpayers would likely see tax increases of 13% or 14%.”

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Steve Walker presented the Phase II and III recommended reductions, noting that while the difficult fiscal situation is unprecedented in Ramapo Central, other school districts statewide have been grappling with similar challenges over the past few years.

Walker stated that the District’s capacity is being eroded as it begins to eliminate non-mandated programs due to restrictions on funding needed to fulfill mandates and contractual obligations.

“Ramapo Central has an opportunity to change the trajectory, if we take the necessary steps,” he said.

Reductions due to retirements and attrition comprise the Phase II recommendations and would result in a savings of $657,728 for the coming school year. The District recommends that the following five full-time equivalent (FTE) vacancies not be replaced with new hires: Secondary Social Studies teacher, Secondary World Language teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Special Education Teacher and Custodial Worker.

Proposed Phase III staffing reductions would provide additional savings of $2.9 million and were outlined as follows:

  • All 5.0 FTE Elementary Library/Media Specialists
  • All 6.5 FTE Instructional Technology Facilitators
  • 8.0 of a total 15.6 FTE Teaching Assistants
  • 2.8 of a total 6.8 FTE Social Workers
  • 6.0 of a total 48.0 FTE Special Education Monitors
  • Reduction of hours to lunch/recess supervision only for Non-Special Education Monitors
  • 1.0 of a total 9.0 FTE School Psychologists
  • All 5.0 FTE Lunchtime Coordinators
  • 1.0 of a total 9.0 FTE Speech/Language Therapist or Pathologist  
  • 1.0 of a total 7.0 FTE Guidance Counselors at Suffern High School
  • .5 reduction of a 1.0 FTE CPSE Chairperson
  • .6 reduction of a .6 FTE School Nurse (Float Nurse)
  • .49 reduction of a total 4.49 FTE Pupil Personnel Services Secretary

Even with Phase I-III reductions, revenues generated by staying under the tax levy limit and use of $1.5 million in reserves, a $1.7 million deficit remains—and benefits costs will still increase $3.3 million for 2013-14. 

“Our task is to determine budget priorities which strike a balance between an ideal educational program and the economic reality of the District’s fiscal ability to support the program,” said Adams.

Phase IV reductions, which will primarily impact teaching staff, will be presented at the next budget workshop on March 19 at 6:30pm at the Administrative Offices in Hillburn.

Community members are invited to attend upcoming budget workshops to stay informed about the budget development process. Although there is no opportunity for public comment during Board workshops, questions and comments regarding the budget may be expressed during the public comment portion of regular Board of Education meetings and via email

District working to reduce deficit for 2013-14

posted Mar 12, 2013, 9:35 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Mar 12, 2013, 9:35 AM ]

[February 22, 2013] At the Board of Education’s second Budget Workshop on February 20, Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert presented updated projections based on clarifications from the New York State Education Department on tax cap formula calculations and proposed, non-personnel reductions.

Proposed Phase I reductions total $1,822,010 and include:

  • decreased special education tuition spending to be achieved by expanding Ramapo Central’s ongoing efforts to serve more students with special needs in-district;
  • decreased specific extra duty expenses; 
  • elimination of Summer School and Summer Readiness programs;
  • elimination of Homework Club;
  • elimination of all District-sponsored field trips;
  • elimination of the Family Resource Centers;
  • utilities cost savings achieved through the Energy Performance Contract; and,
  • reduced spending on services, textbooks, supplies and equipment.

After discussing the projected tax levy and use of reserves, Board members arrived at a consensus to aim for staying within the cap and limiting the use of reserve funds to $1.5 million pending further information regarding proposed reductions.

With Phase I reductions, use of $1.5 million of reserve funds and a tax levy increase within the cap, the District will still face a projected budget deficit of $5,175,505. 

The next budget workshop is scheduled for March 5 at 6:30pm at the Administrative Offices in Hillburn. Slated for presentation are Phase II and III reductions, which will focus on staffing.

“Other local districts have made difficult reductions over the past three or four years,” noted Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams. “These are challenges we have to face. Administrators are looking to minimize the impact on core instruction, but it is extraordinarily difficult.”

Community members are invited to attend upcoming workshops to stay informed about the budget development process. Although there is no opportunity for public comment during Board workshops, questions and comments regarding the budget may be expressed during the public comment portion of regular Board of Education meetings and via email (send to budget@ramapocentral.org).


Roll-over projections presented at first budget workshop

posted Mar 12, 2013, 9:25 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 8:46 AM ]


[February 12, 2013] At the February 5 Board of Education budget workshop, Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert presented preliminary maximum allowable levy limit calculations and roll-over budget projections for 2013-14. Rollover projections show total expenditures of $134,934,334, representing a 6.18% budget-to-budget increase from 2012-13. 
 

Following is a summary of factors currently impacting key aspects of the 2013-14 budget development process.

Maximum allowable levy limit calculations

School districts statewide are still waiting a definitive ruling from the New York State Comptroller’s Office on the use of carryover. Last year, New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) interpretation of the new Property Tax Levy Cap law indicated that districts would be permitted to carryover the difference between their 2012-13 maximum allowable levy limit and their proposed levy to 2013-14.  With this understanding, Ramapo Central proposed a proposed levy of 2.68%—.18% lower than its maximum allowable levy limit—to preserve carryover that could be applied to the 2013-14 proposed levy. However, the Comptroller is now contesting this interpretation and contends that carryover will not be permitted. A final ruling is pending. 

Expenditure calculations

Expenditures are projected to increase by $7,867,401 in 2013-14.

Escalating salary and benefits expenditures comprise nearly 93% of the total budget-to-budget increase. The cost of benefits will increase by 14.43%, adding $4,401,205 to the budget’s bottom line. Per contractual agreements entered into in 2011, compensation freezes in force for the past two years will be lifted, resulting in a 4.89% increase in salaries, an additional $2,877,505.  

The remaining portion of the budget-to-budget increase, $588,697, is attributed to rising special education, transportation and BOCES costs.

Revenue calculations

BOCES Aid has been reduced, reflecting the District’s decreased expenditures related to technology purchases and network specialists. For 2013-14, the District anticipates receiving $1,905,446 in BOCES Aid, a 34.99% decrease from the current year.

Unclassified revenues are projected to increase by $892,547, due to a new PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) created by the arrival of Raymour & Flanagan. However, according to the tax levy limit formula, all anticipated PILOT revenues are subtracted from 2013-14 maximum allowable levy limit calculations.

Finally, Ramapo Central is still awaiting confirmation of Building Aid and State Aid figures. The Comptroller’s Office has indicated that there will be changes to interest rates that would change how Building Aid is calculated. When these changes are made, Ramapo Central will face reductions in its building aid for both the current year and for 2013-14. Final 2013-14 State aid figures are typically reported to school districts in late March.

Community members are encouraged to stay informed throughout the budget development process by attending the Board budget workshops. Upcoming workshops, which will be held at the Administrative Offices in Hillburn, are scheduled for:

Wednesday, February 20 at 6:30pm

Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30pm

Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30pm

Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30pm

Information regarding the budget development process can be found on the 2013-14 School Budget page on the District website. Budget-related questions may be sent to budget@ramapocentral.org.

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