From the Superintendent's Desk

Waterford-Halfmoon UFSD

May 5, 2021

Hello to all,

On May 18, 2021, the annual election of Board of Education members and the vote on the 2021-2022 school budget will be held in the auditorium lobby of the school from noon until 8:00 p.m. Residents are invited to attend a virtual presentation of the 2021-2022 budget on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the school library. 

The proposed $20,791,576 budget calls for 3.37% decrease in spending which was accomplished by renegotiating contracts, offering a retirement incentive in 2020, and decreases in debt service designed to coincide with decreases in state aid for building projects.  The estimated tax levy increase is 0.95% which is well below the maximum allowable tax cap limit.  Tax rates for individual properties will be determined over the summer once equalization rates and assessments, which are set by the Town’s assessor’s office, are available for the Towns of Waterford and Halfmoon. 

The proposed budget will continue to focus on student achievement but also additional academic and social/emotional support to all students who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer school at both the elementary and Jr./Sr. high school will be offered this summer to provide additional support to those students who experienced a loss of learning during the past year.  Modified classes at the Jr./Sr. high school level will also be offered to students to assist in bridging the learning gap for courses in both English and math.

Improvements to the K-12 campus will also continue and the budget includes a $100,000 small capital project that will focus on infrastructure repairs to HVAC heating system piping. The district is also proposing the purchase of two mini-buses to replace two buses that are nearing the end of their lease agreement.  These buses will be used to provide a more cost effective transportation program for a number of our students.  The 2021-2022 proposed budget also calls for COVID-19 related appropriations.  These monies will be used to get more students back to school this fall by providing a learning environment that is clean and safe with a continued focus on maintaining cleaning protocols that meet CDC and NYSDOH guidelines. 

It has been a challenging year for our community not only due to COVID-19 but also due to the tax certiorari case with Momentive Performance Materials.  Although the settlement had a big impact on our taxpayers, given the potential for a much larger refund and greater reduction in the taxable assessed value, we are confident this was settled in the best interest of our tax payers.  It is important to note that the district did not receive any additional funds from the increase in the school tax bills due to the settlement of this tax certiorari.  The increase in taxes to homeowners was the direct result of the homeowners having to make up the difference in taxes due to the large decrease in Momentive’s share of school taxes when their assessment was lessened.  Please visit our website for more information on the Momentive settlement.

As you may be aware, the Federal government passed a several COVID relief bills that provided monies to help our country begin to rebound from the financial impact of the coronavirus over the past year.  Part of these bills provided monies for each state to support education.  Each district in New York State has been earmarked to receive funding. These monies will be used to support various educational programs including the learning loss of students from the impact of hybrid and virtual learning. The district is also exploring the potential to offer a Universal Pre-K program on campus in the future with the support of this federal funding.  These federal dollars are not included in our 2021-2022 budget. These monies will be applied over a number of school years and must meet specific guidelines. Specific spend plans for these funds have not yet been developed because guidance on allowable uses, applications for the funds and the term of the program have not yet been finalized and released.  As the district learns more on how we will be able to use these funds, we will continue to update the financial portion of our district website. 

This year, there are three seats on the Board of Education that will be filled by election.  Please see the “Candidates for BOE” section of this brochure for more information on the candidates. 

The Board of Education is focused on providing a well-rounded, challenging academic environment, in a safe and well maintained facility.  This is always balanced with being fiscally responsible to the community.  We are thankful for your support as we continue to strive to provide the highest quality of education to our students. 

Sincerely,

Patrick Pomerville

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

 

 

Superintendent