Learn More: Budget Vote and Election of Trustees

Learn More: Budget Vote and Election of Trustees
Posted on 05/16/2023

On Tuesday, May 16, between 2-9 PM, we are asking for you to come out and participate in the 2023 school budget vote and election of RCSD Board trustees. The support of our community and families is essential to ensure that we continue the work that we have set forth in our mission for continuous improvement.

What does the 2023-2024 school budget support?

A school budget is an annual spending plan that includes all program support (curriculum, software, textbooks, etc.), all professional, instructional, administrative, and contracted salaries and benefits, transportation to and from school, for athletics and field trips, all student club advisors, all operations of the school (fuel and utility costs, maintenance, cleaning, groundskeeping, etc.), all classroom spaces, equipment, materials and much more. 

The 2023-2024 RCSD school budget maintains all of the academic and co-curricular programs for students, and also includes support for student social development by including an additional school social worker, a part-time special education teacher, and part-time ENL teacher. We have also increased district support for field trips, support for the new flag football team, and development of a unified basketball team that partners students with and without disabilities on one team. We have accelerated our classroom renovation projects and will continue to upgrade rooms and spaces with flexible seating. To better understand our students as individual and unique learners we have also included in our spending plan the purchase of additional digital platforms to consolidate data. 

Our commitment to innovating on behalf of "doing school better" is strong. 

How does the 2023-2024 budget compare to previous years?

For the fifth consecutive year, the District and Board of Education have developed a spending plan that is notably below the tax cap established by New York State. This year, our budget to budget increase is 4.5%, but the tax levy (the amount collected from residents) is 2.73% (below the NYS tax cap calculation for Rhinebeck of 3.37%).  Due to the influx of improvements made to homes in the District, we have a Tax Base Growth Factor of 1.48%, making the average net impact for property owners 1.25% for the 2023-2024 school budget.

For a series of charts that compare recent years, please take a look at our 2023-2024 Budget Hearing Slide Deck, or view the Board of Education video presentations through our BoardDocs platform. 

Our tax rate has seen a steady decline in recent years, and we are happy to share that our rate of $12.30 per $1,000 of assessed value is one of the very lowest in the county. 

A proposition on this year's ballot is asking voters to consider that the District establish a Capital Reserve Fund, which is explored more completely below. 

What is a Capital Reserve fund?

This reserve is used to pay for future capital improvements to district facilities and sites. Voter approval is required to establish, fund and use these reserves. A proposition to use these funds would appear on a separate ballot in the future and must be specific to a set of projects and dollar amounts.

What is being proposed in the Capital Reserve Fund item on the ballot tomorrow?

The ballot proposition creates a reserve fund and defines its terms. This proposition has no impact on the tax levy, but does require voter approval in order to be established. For this item, the proposed reserve fund will be set with a maximum amount of 10 million dollars (does not require that it ever be funded to the maximum), and provides for 10 years for the district to fund and ultimately use  this reserve fund. This Capital Reserve fund is also established and titled as a fund that will be used for renovations, additions, reconstruction and other building and facilities improvements.  

Why is the District proposing the establishment of a Capital Reserve Fund?

The District proposes the creation of this fund so that it can allocate any excess fund balance responsibly in order to offset, greatly reduce, or eliminate costs of taxpayers for capital improvement projects in the future. With the additional support from Federal grants that supplement programs, changes in fuel costs compared to budget estimations, and adjustments made by our healthcare consortium we have had fund balance and believe that the establishment of such a reserve fund is in the best long-term interest of the District, students, and taxpayers. 

What is the Establishing Capital Reserve Fund on the ballot? 

Most reserve funds can be created by a resolution approved by a school district’s Board of Education. A capital reserve, however, must be approved by voters in the district when it is established along with its funding limits and terms. It also requires voter approval for its use. 

In general terms, why are reserves an essential part of the overall school district fiscal health?

By establishing a reserve fund, districts plan ahead and save incrementally for the future. This helps mitigate the financial impact of major, non-recurring or unforeseen expenditures on a school district’s annual operating budget. It also can reduce or even eliminate a district’s need to raise taxes and/or cut staff, programs and services in response to certain financial obligations such as legal judgments or emergency repairs, or necessary building upgrades and renovations. 


Where can I learn more information about the budget and the Board of Education candidates? 

Our website has a series of helpful links to Budget presentations, information about the two candidates running for two open seats on the Board, and resources to understand the school budget process. Take a look at our Budget Landing Page or view the Budget Newsletter that was mailed to all homes earlier this month. 

We have taken measures to ensure a smoother voting day, using digital tablet poll pads, so we hope to again have a vibrant turnout for the election.