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Voters to consider $54.5M budget proposal

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District residents will have the chance to vote on a proposed $54 million RCS school budget on May 21. File photo

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by the RCS Central School District.

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — On Tuesday, May 21, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District residents will vote on a proposed $54,578,339 budget for the 2024-25 school year.

The RCS Board of Education adopted the proposed budget after dedicating the last few months to review programs, consider future opportunities, and finalize priorities for the coming school year.

The proposed plan includes a spending increase of $1,032,433 or 1.92% and would result in an estimated tax rate increase of 4.26%. This estimated tax increase is below the district’s tax cap of 4.45% and requires only a simple majority for the budget to be approved (50% plus one vote).

This budget increase includes the creation of six new instructional positions that will better serve our students: a middle school English teacher, two elementary teachers, a social worker, an elementary special education instructional coach, and a speech-language pathologist.

Students are still rebounding from the academic and social-emotional effects of the pandemic. The middle school English, secondary social worker, and two elementary teaching positions were previously funded through various COVID-related grants. Their inclusion in our general budget will provide essential support and more personalized instruction for our students. The instructional coach will collaborate to improve the skills of both special and general education teachers who instruct our students with disabilities. The elementary speech-language pathologist will focus on improving early literacy, one of the cornerstones of improving student achievement. 

Another important consideration for voters will be a $500,000 capital project that will focus on the infrastructure within the district’s transportation department. The district has carefully followed its bus replacement plan for many years, ensuring that our fleet remains reliable by replacing our oldest buses each year. Our fleet is currently in good working condition. Instead of purchasing buses during the 24-25 school year, the district is proposing to dedicate those funds to needed infrastructure. The improvements will include one bus lift that will be capable of lifting the newer, heavier buses and updated electrical service in the bus garage. An alternate component of the project will include the replacement of a second bus lift if sufficient funds remain after the project is underway. There will be no increase in taxes due to this proposal since this capital project will replace our annual bus purchase expenditure.

“We continue to adapt our instruction to meet students where they are in these post-pandemic times,” said RCS Superintendent Dr. Brian Bailey. “Capitalizing on active learning, engaging students in the process, and maintaining the condition of our facilities are essential components to this work.”  

RCS residents, please join us and cast your vote on the proposed 2024-25 school year budget. 

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