Next year’s budget will have to increase by 5.12 percent, or $5.97 million, in order to maintain current staffing and programming at the Bedford Central School District.
School officials detailed their estimates and forecasts for next year’s budget during Wednesday’s Bedford school board meeting.
The ‘go forward budget,’ or the budget to maintain existing programming and services, is estimated to be $122,450,000 next school year. That represents a 5.12 percent increase from this year’s budget.
“We’re assuming that we’re not going to get any increase in class sections, or any changes in class sections with no problematic changes to the student needs at this point,” said Mark Betz, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and administrative services.
These figures also assume that the district will use $4.4 million in budget reserves to help lower the tax levy.
The budget also doesn’t take into account the possible passage of property tax cap by the state Legislature. Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap proposal would limit the amount of tax school district by 2 percent or the rate inflation.
One of the biggest thing driving up the budget are increased state employee and teacher pension funds, which are anticipated to increase by 35 percent next year, according to Betz.
Betz said those pension contributions are mandated by the state and that the district has no control over them.
“Just take that $2 million and think of that in terms of your tax levy,” Betz said. “Your tax levy, right now, is at $103 million. So, essentially, 2 percent is now added to your levy before you start just in pensions.”