• Sweet Home Source Current Edition (May 2024)
    Message from Dr. Michael V. Ginestre, Superintendent of Schools:

    Dear Sweet Home Community,

    The Sweet Home Central School District is proud to present to our community the proposed budget for the 2024-25 school year. When building our school budget, the goals are to place student interests and programming above all else, while remaining fiscally responsible to our school community. This budget accomplishes both of these goals and prepares us for a future where 21st century learning, and developing new skills to compete in a global economy, are more critical than ever.
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    Our Board of Education guides the work in terms of the budget. Their goals and priorities, in particular to enhance student programming while remaining fiscally responsible, provide the roadmap for District Office to start the process in the Fall. After they set their priorities, we then dive deep into the Sweet Home Strategic Plan to ensure we are positioned to meet the plan’s goals and to have the resources necessary so students meet our graduation standards. We then communicate with our stakeholder groups to determine their needs and wants within our financial parameters. We are proud to say that our budget meets the goals and priorities set forth by the Board of Education, addresses the needs of our stakeholder groups, and remains fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Sweet Home.

    This doesn’t mean we are free of challenges and concerns. Continual manipulation of the Foundation Aid formula by New York State makes it difficult to plan for our future. The promise by Albany to fully fund Foundation Aid (our general operating aid) lasted for one year (2023-24). That promise is now gone, and nearly $615,000 of aid we would have had if the state kept its promise, is also gone. While we are financially sound as a District, Albany continues to change the playing field making the budget process more and more difficult. Next year, the state is attempting to alter how schools are funded, leaving more questions than answers. Finally, inflation continues to negatively impact our economy. Higher prices on goods and services seem like they are here to stay, yet paychecks are failing to keep up with inflation. We will of course continue to monitor developments in Albany, and advocate strongly for the students of our District.

    The budget adopted by the Board of Education and being presented for your approval on May 21 totals $100,410,422, a 3.6% increase from the 2023-24 school year. While this may seem significant, we are pleased to report that additional state aid due to an increase in our enrollment has offset that cost to our taxpayers. Even with a lower than expected foundation aid increase, our tax cap number, or maximum percentage tax increase allowed by law, is 3.90%. However, in keeping with our priorities set forth by the Board of Education, we are not asking our taxpayers to approve that increase, instead we are asking that our taxpayers approve a 1.8% tax increase.

    Leading up to our annual district vote on May 21, we invite all members of our school community to our annual budget hearing and meet the candidate night on May 7 at 6:30 PM in the Vergils Community Center at District Office. The Board will also conduct a study session that evening. On May 14 at 6:30 PM the Board will hold a voting session where the public can also provide input and feedback on the budget. If between now and then you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the District Office.

    It is critical that we reach our mission of “Every Student, One Community, Ready for the Future.” We are extremely confident that this budget meets the goals of our Strategic Plan, enhances student programming, and provides a brighter future for all that we are fortunate to serve. We thank the Sweet Home community for your unconditional support of the work of our great District, and we look forward to seeing you on budget vote day, this May 21.

    Click here to read the full Budget Issue of Sweet Home Source.