This is, without a doubt or question, the most unusual budget message I have ever written in my 10 years at Newark Valley. As a community, we have been faced with a monumental crisis both in public health, and the economy. Developing a budget this year has been one of the greatest challenges our District has ever encountered. Despite that, both I, and the Board, recognize that many people have faced challenges far greater than this over the past months.
All of us have had to re-adjust to life in ways we never could have imagined just a matter of weeks ago. My sons, one of whom is a Senior this year, and one who is in third grade, have been shattered by the personal loss they have had to endure. I know this is true for all of you in one way or another, and I am distressed and disheartened by our collective loss.
As we developed our budget for the coming year, the Board has worked hard to balance the needs of our kids, which will be greater than ever next year, with what we could reasonably ask our taxpayers to support. None of us have ever encountered a situation like this, and finding that balance point was a struggle. Furthermore, on top of the state aid cuts we have already endured, we are faced with unprecedented uncertainty when it comes to future state aid. The Governor has exercised his authority to make rolling aid cuts as he sees fit to balance the state budget.
We entered this budget season with an allowable levy limit increase of 2.5%. To all of us, this was unrealistic. Despite a reduction to our budget expenditures, the loss of state aid, both now and potentially in the future, placed us in a very difficult situation. Regardless, we needed to find an acceptable balance, and through a series of painful cuts and reductions, we managed to reduce our annual increase to 0.3%- less than one-third of one percent.
This was not an easy task, and it will amount to the reduction of materials, supplies, and several positions. Fortunately, we were able to manage these position reductions through attrition. Still, they are painful, and were not expected only a few months ago. hat being said, the administrative team has worked for months to ensure that the impact on program for our kids will be minimal. This will require more from less of us, but that is what needs to be done in times like this.
We remain hopeful that we will receive aid from the federal government to restore what we have lost, but until then, we will redouble our efforts to provide our kids with everything they need to be successful.
We recognize that this is going to be a long road to recovery in many different ways. Much like the recovery from teh 2008 recession, our fiscal position will likely remain fragile for years to come. We have had to carry on and continue our work in an uncertain environment, with many questions, and few answers. One thing, though, remains certain: We will always provide our kids with the best we possibly can. Although circumstances change, and there is much unknown for the future, we will be here for our students.
Respectfully, and on behalf of the Board of Education,
Superintendent of Schools
Budget Information 2020-2021