LCSD budget planning underway

Liberty Central School District school board and administration are working diligently to craft a budget to present to voters on May 21.

This year, the district began the process using a zero-based budgeting model. Rather than using a traditional model of using a set increase over the previous year, zero-based budgeting is like building a budget from scratch, using past data points to highlight needs, mapping out expected revenue from all sources and using the district’s mission, vision, beliefs and goals to help minimize overspending while providing a quality education for the students.

“This type of budgeting helps us prevent compounding mistakes from the past,” Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said

The first budget presentation to the board took place on Feb. 27, with a follow up on March 12.

The district’s allowable calculated tax levy cap is $18,690,105, an $929,943 increase over the current year levy. Often referenced as a 2% tax cap, the actual calculated limit is rarely 2% and is formulated using several factors, including tax base growth rate, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements and excludable expenses.  Districts at or below their calculated cap only need a simple majority for passage of the budget. Liberty’s calculated cap allows for 5.24% increase. The actual increase, if any, will be determined as the budget is finalized.

State aid will not be finalized until the state budget is passed, but Liberty is expecting a slight increase of $285,605 in Foundation Aid. With all sources, state aid is expected to increase $1,766,979.

The budget committee, administration and board will continue to work to create a full budget proposal by the end of the month, with the presentation at the April 2 Board of Education meeting and the budget proposal approved by the board on April 16. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center.

The public hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in the high school auditorium.

The budget vote will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in the h