On May 16, 2023, Florida Union Free School District residents approved a $25,328,514 budget for the 2023-24 school year, which is a 1.5% tax levy increase. In order to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers, the District strives to stay within the allowable tax cap increase and for the past seven years, the district has fallen below the tax cap.
The district budget at a glance includes:
Approved budget: $25,328,514
Year-to-year spending increase: $943,674
Tax levy increase: 1.5%
The 1.5% increase in the tax levy–the total amount of money to be raised through property taxes- is within the District’s maximum allowable tax levy limit of 2% as defined by state law. What does this mean? See the chart below in order to determine the monthly and yearly estimated school tax rates with a corresponding tax levy increase of 1.5%.
MARKET VALUE IS: INCREASE PER MONTH INCREASE PER YEAR
$200,000 $5.29 $63.48
$300,000 $7.94 $95.22
Final increase would depend upon STAR, tax assessment and equalization rates. The spending plan reflects the District’s budgetary goals to preserve student opportunities. The 2023-24 budget expands the academic program and ensures that students have the resources, opportunities and a safe learning environment. Spending increases are attributed to:
- New 5-year transportation contract with Student Bus Company, Inc.
- Continued investments and $100,000 Capital Outlay Project (district to receive building aid the following year) in safety and security.
- Ongoing staff professional learning.
- Support the use of educational technology with a focus on cybersecurity.
- Rising costs of employee health insurance benefits.
- Contractual salary raises.
- General facility repairs.
- Modernization of district learning spaces.
- Funding for curriculum, instruction and assessment. Votes will be cast in-person in the Seward Memorial Building or by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots may be obtained at the Office of the School District Clerk. Voters will also elect one member to the Board of Education. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Programs, Initiatives and Achievements
Golden Hill Elementary
- Held monthly read-alouds focused on kindness, compassion and thankfulness, culminating in a Thankfulness Parade. Relaunched TREP$, short for enTREPreneur$, a project-based learning program that teaches kids in grades 3-5 how to start their own businesses. The program culminated with the TREP$ Marketplace.
- The Omegaman Assembly returned and promoted POSITIVE CHOICES and moved the students’ hearts and minds to contemplate positive change!
- After school clubs offered in art, sign language, S.P.A.R.K.~Students Performing Acts of Respect and Kindness, beekeeping and building STEM.
Star Lab inspired students to engage in a better understanding of the science of astronomy, stars and constellations in the night sky.
- Offered Summer Enrichment Program for students in grades 1-6.
- S.S. Seward Institute 60 college credits in partnership with colleges and universities offered to Seward seniors. Edgenuity coursework provides students the opportunity to independently complete enrichment courses and/or credit recovery courses.
- 61 students attended Orange-Ulster BOCES for various career and college readiness programs. Two Seward students enrolled in BOCES earned medals at the SkillsUSA Area IV Regional Conference for Digital Cinema and Nurse Assisting.
- Students competed on 18 junior varsity and varsity sports teams, with Scholar Athletes being recognized during Fall,
Winter, and Spring sports receptions.
- Offered such academic programs as: – Middle School Summer School – Regents Review Courses – Evening Institute – Retention Prevention Program Students in grades 6-12 participated in the inaugural College & Career Day. Hosted parent presentations on a range of topics, including drug/alcohol abuse, bullying, and digital safety. Engage students in community service opportunities to help with local needs.
- Districtwide Improved HVAC systems.
- Provided multiple professional learning opportunities to all district staff.
- Increased safety and security measures to include, but not limited to: – Installed new public address system – Improved school buildings’ secure vestibules – Hired security personnel – Hosted law enforcement emergency drill sessions with Orange County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police,
Town of Warwick Police Department, Village of Florida Police Department and Orange-Ulster BOCES partners.
- Hosted several community-based events, including: art shows, concerts, Science Symposium, drama production. Took necessary measures to refresh components of the district’s technology infrastructure.
- Updated the district’s IP phone system (VoIP).
- Refreshed district spaces in order to create more modernized learning environments.
Board of Education Election
On May 16, residents voted to fill one Board of Education seat. The one seat is for a three-year term from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2026. The candidate elected to this seat is as follows:
For more details on the district budget, visit www.floridaufsd.org. The full text of the budget is also available for review during normal business hours in the S.S. Seward Memorial Building, 51 North North Main Street, Florida, New York.