Education Matters: Budget Newsletter (2017-2018)

May 2017 - Budget News

What Am I Voting On?

The annual budget vote and Board of Education election will occur on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 between the hours of 12 noon and 9 p.m. in the Cairo-Durham Middle School cafeteria. 

Voters will be asked to decide on the following items:

  • A $30,103,377 budget for the 2017-18 school year
  • Selection of three Board of Education members
  • Purchase of five school buses

Proposed Budget Focuses on Student Programming

On Tuesday, May 16, the Cairo-Durham CSD community will vote on a proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year, as well as three open seats for the Board of Education and the purchase of five school buses. The proposed spending plan would expand student support services, educational opportunities and non-instructional support staff.


The $30,103,377 proposed budget, which increases spending by $1,137,222 over the current year’s budget, requires an estimated 2.57% increase in the tax levy.


This increase is equal to the maximum allowable tax levy, meaning that it is within New York State’s Property Tax Cap. Therefore, qualifying residents would receive a refund check from the state.


The most notable changes to the budget would be the addition of key support staff. The proposed budget includes a part-time speech therapist as well as a full-time social worker to address personal/social issues impacting student attendance and academic achievement, provide counseling services, and offer support to families in accessing social services.


The proposed budget would enhance educational opportunities by allowing for the purchase of new Chromebook laptops for all students in Grades 7, 9 and 10. Additional Chromebooks would also be purchased to support labs for Grades 6 and 8. A part-time non-instructional “help desk” position would be created to support students, faculty and staff with day-to-day technical issues in a timely fashion.


Other non-instructional support included in the proposed budget is a K-12 Math Specialist and a K-8 Response to Intervention (RTI) Coordinator to support Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teachers.  


“Similar to last year, this budget proposal continues to focus on student programming,” said Superintendent Anthony Taibi. “A primary goal is to prepare our students for college, career and life beyond school. We want to ensure that our students have the very best opportunities we are able to provide.”


The May 16 ballot will contain additional propositions for the Board of Education election and bus purchasing. Residents will be asked to elect three (3) candidates to fill school board vacancies. Residents will also vote on the purchase of five (5) buses as part of the District’s board-approved replacement plan.

Residents to Vote on Bus Purchasing

A separate proposition on the May 16 ballot seeks voter approval to purchase five (5) school buses at a total cost of $564,591 (before state aid reimbursement). The District will receive a trade-in credit $157,500, for a net purchase price of $407,091. Approximately 54% of the bus purchase would be returned through state aid, offsetting the local taxpayer share.


The bus purchase is part of an ongoing bus replacement plan designed to keep the District’s fleet in safe, working order. The State Education Department recommends that districts replace small buses every five to seven years and large buses every 10 years. Cairo-Durham CSD follows a seven-year bus replacement plan to better control repair and maintenance costs while ensuring student safety. Each year, the District phases out a certain number of older buses and replaces them with new models.


If approved by voters, the bus proposition would allow the District to trade in and replace five (5) buses that have become too costly for the District to maintain.

Preparing Students for the Future

College and career readiness is a term that is often used to assess the success of schools and students, but what does it actually mean? Cairo-Durham CSD students demonstrate readiness with the skills they learn, the courses they complete and achievements they earn. Here are some examples:

  • Michaelangelo Guldenstern, Raven Patterson and Jacob Spain qualified to compete in the 2017 SkillsUSA state competition. Guldenstern and Patterson are Criminal Justice students and Spain is an Automotive Services student in Questar III’s Career & Technical Education programs.

  • CDHS offers 12 Advanced Placement courses to help students prepare for rigorous coursework they may encounter in college, and there are more than 50 courses in which students have the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school.

  • The Class of 2016 earned nearly 971 college credits while still in high school. More than 54% of students earned at least three college credits. The Class of 2017 is on track to earn 982 college credits before graduation.

  • Colleges attended by the Class of 2016 include: Cornell, Saint John’s University, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Siena, Manhattan College, Saint Rose, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Oneonta, Bard College and Universal Technical Institute.

  • Senior Cheyenne Robinson received the Greater Capital Region Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarship Award from the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA). Senior Morgan Handel was honored with the CASDA Scholars' Recognition Award.

  • For the first time in more than 10 years, CDE sent two teams to the Region 4 Odyssey of the Mind competition in March. The teams were made up of third and fourth grade students, and one team came in third place in their division.

  • The Greene County Music Educators Association selected six Grade 5 band students to represent CDE at the All-County Spring Music Festival in March.

  • Twenty-five young artists at CDE had artwork featured in the "Outside the Lines" student art show hosted by the Greene County Council on the Arts.

  • Hailey Schrull (Grade 5) was chosen as a semifinalist in the 2017 miSci Invention Convention, which is a regional and statewide invention competition for students in grades K-8. Her invention, a ferret diaper, will be on display with other projects at the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady from May 6-18, 2017.

Excellence in Academics

The College Board named Cairo-Durham CSD (CDCSD) to the AP® District Honor Roll, a distinction shared by 433 school districts across the United States and Canada. The AP District Honor Roll recognizes schools that achieved increases in access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses for more students, while also maintaining or improving the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam.


Of the 433 school districts, 25 districts in New York State received this distinction and CDCSD is one of only two districts in the Capital Region to make the list. Furthermore, Cairo-Durham is the only honor recipient in NYS to have a 30% or greater enrollment of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch.


“We believe that it is our responsibility to afford our students the same opportunities at Cairo-Durham that other students at much larger schools are exposed to," said Superintendent Taibi. "This honor is a testament to our belief that our students are capable of great things if we continue to challenge them. We are very proud of this accomplishment.”

School Libraries Enhance K-12 Curricula

This year, Media Center Specialist Nancy Pine has added nearly 300 new titles to the library collection at Cairo-Durham Elementary. Most of the new items selected by Pine are non-fiction to support curriculum, and students have been excited to read about topics such as science, weather, outer space and computer coding.


“It’s been wonderful to see the enthusiasm when new boxes come in,” said Bianca Rell, a teacher assistant in the CDE library. “The kids get so excited and we’re seeing more interest in reading non-fiction.”


The new additions include traditional books and over 90 eBook titles, which can be accessed on a variety of electronic devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pine also added to the eBook collection at the Middle/High School Media Center, which features mostly non-fiction titles to support curricular needs as well.


As Pine notes, the library and the classroom are interconnected. In addition to supporting K-12 curricula and aspects of current learning standards, Pine also teaches information literacy skills and integrates the use of technology and high-quality resources.


After the school year ends in June, the impact of our school libraries continues through the Summer Reading Program. In an effort to prevent “summer slide,” students can check out up to five books to read over the summer and return to the school libraries in September.

Budget Breakdown

Where the money comes from...

Source of Funds

2016-2017 Budget

2017-2018 Proposed

Increase/Decrease Percent
State/Federal Aid  $13,194,082  $13,994,018  $799,936 6.06%
Tax Levy  $13,147,417  $13,484,703  $337,286 2.57%
Local Sources*  $624,656  $624,656  $0   0.00%
Appropriated Fund Balance  $1,900,000  $1,900,000  $0   0.00%
Appropriated Reserves  $100,000  $100,000  $0   0.00%
Total  $28,966,155  $30,103,377  $1,137,222 3.93%

* includes payments in lieu of taxes, interest penalties, charges for services, day school tuition, use of money and property, sale of property, refund of prior year expenses, etc.


...and where it is spent

Expense Category

2016-2017 Budget

2017-2018 Proposed  Increase/Decrease Percent Change
Board of Education  $40,770  $29,800  $(10,970) -26.91%
Central Administration  $199,795  $207,810  $8,015 4.01%
Finance Services  $477,164  $507,388  $30,224 6.33%
Legal/Public Information  $71,100  $74,175  $3,075 4.32%
Central Services  $589,406  $621,787  $32,381 5.49%
Supervisory/Improvement  $1,127,837  $1,175,861  $48,024 4.26%
Fringe Benefits  $550,054  $578,437  $28,383 5.16%
Administrative Total  $3,056,126  $3,195,258  $139,132 4.55%
Legal  $50,000  $60,000  $10,000 20.00%
Regular Instruction  $7,652,634  $7,822,709  $170,075 2.22%
Special Education  $3,529,172  $3,695,420  $166,248 4.71%
Occupational Education  $908,422  $813,624  $(94,798) -10.44%
Library/Technology  $998,067  $1,329,238  $331,171 33.18%
Student Services  $1,028,008  $1,161,142  $133,134 12.95%
Transportation  $1,802,764  $1,819,556  $16,792 0.93%
Interfund Transfers  $235,000  $155,000  $(80,000) -34.04%
Fringe Benefits  $6,164,440  $6,269,230  $104,790 1.70%
Program Total  $22,368,507  $23,125,919  $757,412 3.39%
Operations & Maintenance  $1,670,243  $1,806,988  $136,745 8.19%
Certiorari/Judgments  $8,000  $8,000  $0  0.00%
Debt Service  $1,363,015  $1,469,823  $106,808 7.84%
Transfer to Capital Fund  $100,000  $100,000  $0 0.00%
Fringe Benefits  $400,264  $397,389  $(2,875) -0.72%
Capital total  $3,541,522  $3,782,200  $240,678 6.80%
GRAND TOTAL  $28,966,155  $30,103,377  $1,137,222 3.93%

Questions & Answers

Is there a property tax rebate from the state?

Yes, the new Property Tax Rebate replaces the property tax freeze credit that provided property tax rebate checks to eligible taxpayers in 2014 and 2015. This rebate, which will be active until 2019, is for homeowners who receive the STAR exemption and who live in a district that passes a budget at or below its tax cap. Because the District stayed with its tax cap, eligible taxpayers making less than $200,000 a year should receive a rebate check from New York State in the fall.


Why is a 2.57% increase within the tax cap?

When New York State passed the Property Tax Cap law, elected officials often referred to the new law as a “2% tax cap.” But the law they passed requires schools to use an eight-step formula to determine how much they can increase their tax levy, which does not always work out to 2 percent. Very few school districts actually have a 2% tax cap because the formula causes the cap to vary from district to district. A school district is considered tax cap compliant as long as it does not increase its tax levy by more than the amount determined by the eight-step calculation.


This 4-minute video briefly explains how New York State uses a formula to determin each school dictrict's tax cap, which rarely works out to 2 percent:

What happens if the budget is defeated?

If the budget is not approved on May 16, the District may submit the original budget or submit a revised budget to the voters on June 20, or adopt a contingency budget that levies a tax no greater than that of the prior year (0 percent increase in tax levy). If the resubmitted/revised budget proposal is not approved by the required margin, the Board of Education must adopt a budget that levies a tax no greater than that of the prior year. In that case, districts would not be allowed to increase the tax levy to the extent necessary to fund items of expenditure excluded from the tax cap.


What if I have questions?

For further information, please call the District Office at 518-622-8534 or visit our website,, and click on the “Budget & Tax Information” link. Or you can submit questions to the Business Office by emailing