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2014-15 levy limit drops to 0.82% as District braces for additional GEA loss of $2M

posted Apr 11, 2014, 10:08 AM by Doreen Dedrick   [ updated Apr 11, 2014, 10:08 AM ]
[April 11, 2014] The impact of the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) legislation and discrepancies in reported state aid increases were the subject of the final budget workshop.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert presented the final 2014-15 calculations based on state budget information. The proposed 2014-15 budget totals $130,372,327, which represents a budget-to-budget increase of 1.85% and a maximum allowable tax levy limit of 0.82%.

From 2010-11 through 2014-15, Ramapo Central has sustained a cumulative loss of $12.5M in state aid promised, but not delivered, as a result of the GEA. For the 2014-15 school year alone, the District will lose over $2M due to GEA.

“If these funds were restored, we would have a balanced budget for 2014-15—and even a small surplus,” said Seibert. “Instead, we are forced to continue to rely on our reserves.”

To balance the budget, the District is proposing the use of unrestricted tax certiorari reserve funds in the amount of $780,290 and the allocation of $1,000,000 from the liquidation of encumbered purchase orders for tax certiorari, in accordance with the District’s Corrective Action Plan in response to the New York State Comptroller’s Audit Report.

In addition, Seibert noted that, despite reports citing nearly double-digit increases in state aid, Ramapo Central instead must plan for chronic gaps in funding between aid promised in the state enacted budget and actually disbursed. While legislators worked to pass the 2014-15 budget, revisions were made to 2013-14 allocations. As a result, the District learned in early April that it would actually receive nearly $400,000 less for the current year than what was promised in the state budget passed last March. A similar situation occurred in 2012-13, resulting in a difference between state aid enacted and received which represented a loss of $1.07M.

The Board of Education will convene to adopt the proposed budget on April 23 at 7:30pm at the Administrative Building in Hillburn.

For detailed information, please visit the Budget webpage for presentations and FAQs regarding the proposed 2014-15 budget.

District residents are encouraged to urge their state legislators to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Visit the District’s Advocacy web page for a sample letter.

Please mark your calendars: The school budget vote is Tuesday, May 20.