Superintendent's Message

May, 2020

Dear Community,
Dan Milgate
No one would have imagined four months ago that a global pandemic and its impact would be the primary consideration developing school budgets, but here we are.

The good news is that state and local governments report that we are flattening the curve, with the number of Coronavirus cases on the decline. We all remain hopeful that this trend continues.

The bad news is the unknown extent to which the pandemic will impact our overall economy.

This situation is certainly unfamiliar to us all, but our budget development efforts for 2020-21 has concentrated on:

• maintaining instructional programs and student opportunities;
• constraining costs within our control;
• addressing the $1.6 million increase in benefits;
• accounting for the minimum wage increase;
• introducing a pre-K pilot program;
• remaining under the tax levy cap;
• prioritizing the impact on the tax rate; and
• managing short and long-term use of reserve funds.

As we shared in our April Cornerstone, state aid allocations remained essentially flat for 2020-21, without any increase to align with growing costs. The state further warned that aid to school districts will further be subject to quarterly adjustments and possible mid-year reductions based on the state’s incoming revenues.

To mitigate this potential reduction, our district has essentially instituted a spending freeze, and only expended funds mandated or deemed critical to operations and instruction in the current year’s budget. We hope any savings we are able to secure now will help us stabilize any adjustments next year. We also continue to analyze the strategic and deliberate use of reserve funds to ensure education continues, while minimizing the overall tax rate for homeowners.

This section of our website includes the budget proposal, anticipated revenues, tax levy and forecasted tax rate for our community’s consideration, prior to the absentee-ballot vote on June 9. In the next few weeks, the district will mail two absentee ballots per qualified voter households, with a postage paid return envelope. If a household requires additional absentee ballots, please contact the District Clerk at 585-349-5101 or email mclapper@spencerportschools.org. All ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. on Tue., June 9, to be counted.

This year, we also have nine candidates running for three openings on the Board of Education. The three-year term runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023, and the seats are currently held by Kate Czarnecki, David Gibbardo, and Jody Gillette. Gillette is not seeking a fifth term, and we want to take this opportunity to thank her for her 12 years of volunteer service to the community and our students.

Finally, we want to thank you, as always, for your ongoing support and partnership during these unique times. We certainly appreciate our joint commitment to our students and their education.

Sincerely,

Dan
Dan Milgate
Superintendent of Schools