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2022-2023 Budget Summary and FAQs

On May 17, 2022, Ithaca City School District voters approved the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year in the amount of $148,944,098. Click here to view all results of the Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election. 


Budget Summary

2022-23 budget summary table

Click here to view the 2022 Budget Mailer >>

Click here to view the FY23 Budget Presentation Report >>

Public Budget Hearing:

Supporting the exceptional work and well-being of ICSD staff and students has been of utmost importance for us during budget development. We continue to preserve the jobs of all of our current instructional staff, paying full wages and maintaining benefits. We have also continued to preserve the jobs of all of our non-instructional staff and have settled the Employees Association Bargained Agreement, providing a minimum of 5% raises to our essential workforce members, including bus drivers and food service, technology, nursing, clerical, and facilities staff. Administrators have all been working to lead the efforts of Learning Forward ICSD and the loving support of all of our employees, students, and families.  

At this moment in time, the 2022-2023 budget supports salary increases for all staff in all of our bargained units (Ithaca Teachers Association, Substitutes Association, Educational Support Professionals, Employees Association, and Principals and Directors Association), as well as members of our district that are not members of a union. The proposed budget also supports the creation of positions that were needed to enhance the educational and daily operational systems of the ICSD. Finally, the budget preserves and enhances the ICSD experience by providing our students with robust academic, social-emotional, and psychological support for all populations.

As part of our year-long budget development process, we have been exploring budget lines since August 2021. For additional information not found on this page, please review minutes from our Board Finance Committee work sessions or watch recordings of all budget updates presented to the Board of Education. Please also continue to send us your questions and comments using the Let's Talk portal.
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 5/16/22

Overview
How are budgets in the Ithaca City School District developed?
What do all of the numbers in the budget document mean?
What happens if the budget does not receive 60% or more of the votes? (updated 5/10/22)
Can you help me understand Proposition 4? (added 5/16/22)
Why are you selling land to the City of Ithaca in Proposition 4? (added 5/16/22)
Tax Rate, Tax Cap, and Tax Levy
I heard that the tax rate increase is 0%. Is this true? (added 5/9/22)
What exactly is the New York State tax cap and how is it calculated? (added 5/10/22)
How is the district’s budget increasing by only 2.59% this year if the tax levy is increasing by 7.21% and requiring us to exceed the tax cap? (added 5/4/22)
Why is the school district always going over the tax cap? (added 5/10/22)
Will our STAR tax exemption be eliminated or impacted because the district is going over the tax cap? (added 5/10/22)
In this current economy, why would the ICSD propose a 7.21% tax levy increase? (added 5/9/22)
Why are you levying more taxes and not paying for the budgeted expenditures another way? (added 5/10/22)
Can’t you just decrease the budgeted expenditures instead of levying more taxes? (added 5/10/22)
Why don’t we just stop our work on the 2019 Capital Project and use that money to pay for other things?
Line Items
Why are there shifts in certain budget codes compared to last year?
What does it mean when there is an increase or decrease in a particular line item?
Would you please provide some details about teachers’ salaries?
Can you describe the 1.66% decrease in K-6 teacher salaries in the 2110 budget code? (added 5/5/22)
Can you describe the 5.73% increase in 7-12 teacher salaries in the 2110 budget code? (added 5/5/22)
What is driving the larger percentage increase in salary for administrators (budget code 2020) compared to teachers (budget code 2110)? (added 5/5/22)
Why are stipends for in-service training decreasing by 22%? (added 5/5/22)
How is the district addressing the recruitment and retention of teachers and staff? (added 5/5/22)
Will there be a reduction of Educational Support Professionals (ESPs)?
Would you please speak to the salary level that the superintendent receives?
What changes did we make to the BOCES budget?
What is included in the Contractual Services line items?
Is it true that supply money was cut in the budget?
Is it true that equipment funding was cut?
It looks like there are large increases in Athletics. Would you please explain?
Would you please give more details about non-instructional staff and substitutes, as those line items seem to be increasing significantly?
What does the increase in English as a New Language (ENL) funding mean for the ICSD?
How does this budget support the social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health (MH) needs of our students?
 

Q

How are budgets in the Ithaca City School District developed?

A

Budgets are a reflection of the amount of funds that we think we need to operate the district for the following year. They represent the moment in time in which they are developed. Every budget is built in collaboration with principals, directors, and many other stakeholders throughout the entire year. If a budget developer no longer needs an item within their budget, they will request that the line item be eliminated. If they need a new item or more money added to an area of their budget, they will request that the line item be increased.
  Most money (except equipment) can be transferred to another area of the budget if needed and not all funds budgeted need to be spent.

Q

What do all of the numbers in the budget document mean?

A

To understand the components of the budgeting system that school districts in New York State must follow, please refer to the presentation given to the ICSD Board Finance Committee on February 16, 2021, found here (view the recording on our YouTube channel).

Q

What happens if the budget does not receive 60% or more of the votes?

A

If voters defeat the school district budget on May 17th, a district has two options: resubmit the same proposal or a revised one for a revote on June 21st, or adopt a contingent budget. If residents vote down the budget a second time, the district MUST adopt a contingent budget. A contingent budget would have to levy the same amount of taxes as in the current year. The ICSD’s contingent budget is $3,127,169 less than the current FY22 budget. In the Budget Mailer, you will see the details of the contingent budget. Notice the contingent budget will be in the amount of $142,052,716, decreasing the program component of the budget significantly. If the ICSD adopts a contingent budget, the Board of Education will identify expenditures deemed to be absolutely necessary to operate and maintain schools. The emphasis will be on those expenditures considered essential to maintain an educational program, preserve property, and assure the health and safety of students and staff.
 Top

Q

Can you help me understand Proposition 4?

A

In 2020, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) approached the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and our Board of Education about repurposing approximately 10 feet of space entering our property on Court Street, extending approximately 130 feet towards Buffalo Street, in order to build a full-size gymnasium as part of its renovation of the Immaculate Conception gym.
  The ICSD, the City of Ithaca, and GIAC have been exploring “both-and” solutions that meet student and community needs. The proposed gymnasium will allow access to play space for our students and families throughout the year regardless of weather conditions. Our partnership with the Ithaca Children’s Garden has also allowed us to create and utilize vertical gardens and accompanying activities for classrooms. In collaboration with the Transportation Engineers at the City of Ithaca, we will design traffic calming measures to ensure safe, mid-block crossing to Markels Flats, located across from the Beverly J. Martin gardens on Court Street, which is ICSD property. 
 
For more information on the site plan, please click here.
 Top

Q

Why are you selling land to the City of Ithaca in Proposition 4?

A

Initially, a land swap was proposed - a portion of Strawberry Fields (Belle Sherman) was going to be traded for the Beverly J. Martin property. However, upon further investigation, it was discovered that Strawberry Fields is designated parkland, which is not something that can be exchanged. Thus, Proposition 4 is required to allow the City of Ithaca to purchase 1,312 square feet of land to support the new gymnasium for GIAC.
 Top

Q

I heard that the tax rate increase is 0%. Is this true?

A

Yes. The ICSD has committed to a 0% tax rate increase for next year. Once we know the total assessed value of our community in August, we will then determine the tax levy that creates a 0% tax rate increase.
 
School Year
Tax Rate
Rate Increase
2009-2010 $16.12 --
2010-2011 $16.66 3.32%
2011-2012 $16.90 1.45%
2012-2013 $16.95 0.32%
2013-2014 $17.07 0.69%
2014-2015 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP $18.09 5.95%
2015-2016 $18.18 0.52%
2016-2017 $17.67 -2.81%
2017-2018 $17.48 -1.08%
2018-2019 $17.00 -2.75%
2019-2020 $16.84 -0.94%
2020-2021 $16.59 -1.48%
2021-2022 $16.84 1.53%
2022-2023 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP $16.84 0%

Q

What exactly is the New York State tax cap and how is it calculated?

A

This video created by the Capital Region BOCES provides a very helpful overview of the tax cap, how it’s calculated, and how it affects schools and taxpayers:
 

This resource from the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) provides additional information on the tax cap, tax levy, and tax rates: Q&A: The Property Tax Cap.

Q

How is the district’s budget increasing by only 2.59% this year if the tax levy is increasing by 7.21% and requiring us to exceed the tax cap?

A

The 7.21% increase in the tax levy directly relates to the portion of the COVID-related federal aid amounts, totaling $4,397,468, that must be removed from the general fund. These federal aid funds are currently being used to supplement expenses over the next year and the following year, after which they will be eliminated. We must have a plan to sustain the support for mental health, learning that was disrupted due to the pandemic, facilities issues related to health and safety, and social and emotional programming. By increasing the tax levied, we not only bridge the gap in the loss of funding but do so without a tax rate increase for our taxpayers. A zero percent (0%) tax rate increase is the ICSD’s commitment to our taxpayers.

Q

Why is the school district always going over the tax cap?

A

Since the establishment of the NYS Property Tax Cap in 2012, the district has gone over the taxp cap only twice. In 2015, the ICSD needed to exceed the property tax cap due to the loss of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal funding. Fast forward to 2022, the ICSD is once again facing the loss of federal funding and needs to exceed the property tax cap. All other years, the ICSD has levied taxes within the tax cap formula imposed by NYS, as shown in the table below:
 
School Year
Tax Levy
Levy Increase
2009-2010 $65,523,475 2.52%
2010-2011 $68,124,402 3.97%
2011-2012 $69,750,010 2.39%
2012-2013
First year of NYS Tax Cap
$71,354,260 2.30%
2013-2014 $73,283,643 2.70%
2014-2015 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP $79,787,373 8.90%
2015-2016 $82,176,897 2.99%
2016-2017 $83,901,290 2.10%
2017-2018 $85,717,703 2.16%
2018-2019 $87,594,205 2.19%
2019-2020 $90,238,884 3.02%
2020-2021 92,777,822 2.81%
2021-2022 $95,525,492 2.96%
2022-2023 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP Estimated
$102,416,874
7.21%
 

Q

Will our STAR tax exemption be eliminated or impacted because the district is going over the tax cap?

A

Absolutely not. There are no penalties to taxpayers if school districts exceed the tax cap. The penalties placed on NYS taxing entities to stay within the tax cap were eliminated in 2019 and never included STAR exemptions.

Q

In this current economy, why would the ICSD propose a 7.21% tax levy increase?

A

We are levying taxes at this level (estimated until we get total assessed value information) because that level still means no tax rate increase for our taxpayers. In other words, the amount of money that you pay in school taxes is remaining the same next year if your assessed value remains unchanged and, if you have been reassessed, your school tax rate has not increased. This year, the taxable value of our community has increased to such an extent that, even though the school district levy went up, it is spread across many more homeowners and businesses paying taxes, thus lowering the amount that each one of us pays. We do recognize that your assessment may have increased as part of the County Assessor’s work, but your tax rate will be locked in by the Ithaca City School District. Here is information about the ICSD’s commitment to controlling your tax rate.  As you can see, the 2023 proposed tax rate is less than the rate you would have paid 10 years ago:
 
School Year
Tax Rate
Rate Increase
2009-2010 $16.12 --
2010-2011 $16.66 3.32%
2011-2012 $16.90 1.45%
2012-2013 $16.95 0.32%
2013-2014 $17.07 0.69%
2014-2015 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP $18.09 5.95%
2015-2016 $18.18 0.52%
2016-2017 $17.67 -2.81%
2017-2018 $17.48 -1.08%
2018-2019 $17.00 -2.75%
2019-2020 $16.84 -0.94%
2020-2021 $16.59 -1.48%
2021-2022 $16.84 1.53%
2022-2023 - OVERRIDE TAX CAP $16.84 0%

This resource from the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) provides additional information on the tax cap, tax levy, and tax rates: Q&A: The Property Tax Cap.

Q

Why are you levying more taxes and not paying for the budgeted expenditures another way?

A

School taxes - making up 73% of the revenue of the district - are, without question, the majority of the money that we need to support our expenditures. State Aid is the next largest element at 24% of our revenue and cannot be increased. Other miscellaneous revenue accounts for the remaining 3%. This year, we are also using Fund Balance, the district’s savings account, to make up for the loss in federal COVID dollars that are needed to cover expenditures so that the additional burden does not fall onto the taxpayers as well.

Q

Can’t you just decrease the budgeted expenditures instead of levying more taxes?

A

The total budget is increasing by 2.59% from the current year to next year. This increase allows us to maintain the programs that we offer and meet the contractual obligations that we have with all of our bargained agreements with our unions. Decreasing the current budget by 1% would mean that we would need to cut services, supports, and positions in the amount of $1.5 million, which would still require the district to exceed the tax cap.

Q

Why don’t we just stop our work on the 2019 Capital Project and use that money to pay for other things?

A

Debt service represents the amount of principal and interest that we pay on funds that we’ve borrowed to pay specifically for maintaining and renovating our buildings. Please note that many parts of the capital project have already been bid and awarded. If these parts of the project were delayed, it would increase costs significantly.

Q

Why are there shifts in certain budget codes compared to last year?

A

Each year, a number of positions and job titles need to be re-coded throughout the budget due to ESSA and NYS Transparency Report requirements. A re-code means that it was moved from one area of the budget (showing a decrease in that line) to another area of the budget (showing an increase). Decreases do not mean cuts in all cases, and in fact, mean that the funds were merely moved elsewhere.

Q

What does it mean when there is an increase or decrease in a particular line item?

A

When you see a line item increase or decrease, it can be due to a number of factors, including:
  • Funds could have been under- or over-budgeted the year prior, and we make changes to reflect the actual expenditures.
  • Salaries may need to catch up to prior year agreements that took effect after the budget was developed and approved.   
  • Funding may need to be re-coded due to new requirements from the State.  
  • New positions may have been created or eliminated after the budget was developed and approved.
  • When a staff person retires, the person replacing them often has a lower salary due to less seniority in the district.
  • We have used grant funds to support the costs of positions and therefore do not need to fund them with the General Fund.

Q

Would you please provide some details about teachers’ salaries?

A

The Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) is currently working under a contract that is settled through 2025 and provides the following salary increases to all members:
2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25
4% $2,507 4.5% $2,724 4%
2021-2022 ITA Details
Current Fiscal Year - 597 Staff
Base Salary* $47,576
Average Salary $62,645
Highest Salary $112,980
*New hire with zero years of experience

Q

Can you describe the 1.66% decrease in K-6 teacher salaries in the 2110 budget code?

A

All members of the Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) negotiated a salary increase of 4.5% for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which means that all teachers receive that increase to their base for next year, along with all negotiated longevity increases. (Please refer to the ITA contract here.) The decrease in the elementary line items is directly related to retirements of staff from last year to this year and the elimination of multiple virtual-only positions that were budgeted in FY22 but never utilized, approximately a $620,000 decrease. Last year’s budget prepared the ICSD to address the pandemic by creating positions that might have been needed. Those positions were placeholders, having never been necessary, as the NYS guidance around how to address the pandemic lessened in severity.

Q

Can you describe the 5.73% increase in 7-12 teacher salaries in the 2110 budget code?

A

All members of the Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) negotiated a salary increase of 4.5% for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which means that all teachers receive that increase to their base for next year, along with all negotiated longevity increases. (Please refer to the ITA contract here.) The higher-than-4.5% increase in the secondary line items is related to the need for additional sections or staff at the secondary level in many classes.

Q

What is driving the larger percentage increase in salary for administrators (budget code 2020) compared to teachers (budget code 2110)?

A

All members of the Ithaca Principals and Directors Association (IPDA), including principals, assistant principals, educators of inclusion, directors of Athletics, Technology, and Fine and Performing Arts, and the Evaluation Officer, negotiated a salary increase of 3.0% for the 2022-23 fiscal year, along with all negotiated longevity increases. (Please refer to the IPDA contract here.) The increase in administrative salaries is related to the creation of additional administrative support at Ithaca High School, the re-coding of a Director’s salary into budget code 2020, a contractual obligation to increase funding for administrative vacation pay, and additional funds for administrative substitutes. Members of the Executive Team (Deputy Superintendent, Inclusion Officer, Administration Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and Superintendent) have direct contracts with the Board of Education and are not included in the IPDA contract.

Q

Why are stipends for in-service training decreasing by 22%?

A

As stated in the explanations below the first 2070 budget line item, the position of an unused blended instruction staff was eliminated, as well as the instance of a re-code of funding from the General Fund to the Special Aid fund. The decrease is merely an accounting practice and not a loss in the opportunity of funding.

Q

How is the district addressing the recruitment and retention of teachers and staff?

A

Please view the May 3rd Board of Education Human Resources Committee work session for a presentation by the ICSD Director of Recruitment and Retention, Gladira Velázquez Simms, found here (beginning at the 33:50 mark).

Q

Will there be a reduction of Educational Support Professionals (ESPs)?

A

The budget supports an increase of ESPs, specifically a number of Mentor TA positions in our secondary buildings. It is important to note that ESPs are aligned with IEPs and 504 Plans. As students’ IEPs/504s change, we will see increases or decreases in the number of ESPs.

Q

Would you please speak to the salary level that the superintendent receives?

A

The ICSD has twelve instructional buildings and four non-instructional buildings brimming with over 1,200 employees and nearly 5,000 students. This will be Superintendent Brown’s 12th year leading the district.

Q

What changes did we make to the BOCES budget?

A

The budget reflects maintenance of existing programming, including slots for our students and families to enroll in Possibilities, Lighthouse, or Turning Point. Communication funds of almost $76,000 running through CiTi BOCES have been eliminated so that we can create an in-house model. The same has been done with accounts payable services and technology. Our administrative fees were also increased by TST BOCES.

Q

What is included in the Contractual Services line items?

A

"Contractual Services" are funds budgeted to contract with certain service providers, such as repair companies, software/hardware companies, staff developers, and specialists, to support district operations. Contracts that we enter into are listed on Board Reports.

Q

Is it true that supply money was cut in the budget?

A

No, funding for supplies was not cut when developing the budget for next year. In fact, supply funds have increased by $361,869 or 18.55%.

Q

Is it true that equipment funding was cut?

A

No, funding for equipment ($944,465) was not cut when developing the budget for next year and has in fact been increased by $122,025 or 14.84%. Equipment is used for items that cost over $500/item and cannot have funding transferred into it as is done with other budget lines that need additional funding. Equipment requests are directly submitted by department leaders and building principals. These requests are based on year-round conversations with staff and reflect the needs of the adults and students. Funding amounts fluctuate each year based on those needs.

Q

It looks like there are large increases in Athletics. Would you please explain?

A

Athletics is one of the areas of our district that needs equipment and supply funding to address health and safety needs, as well as to replace items that have reached the end of their useful life. The supply funds cover sports medicine items, uniforms, branding efforts, food, and all supplies needed for our student-athletes across all secondary buildings. Much of the equipment funding will be used to address mat replacement, the timing and scoring system in the pool area, an athletic hall of fame, netting for the softball field, and screens for the baseball field. A new high school flag football program has been created, as well.

Q

Would you please give more details about non-instructional staff and substitutes, as those line items seem to be increasing significantly?

A

Our non-instructional and substitute staff are often our unsung heroes of the district. Non-instructional staff include, but are not limited to teaching aides (TAs), bus drivers, custodians, nurses, clerical staff, grounds crew members, and maintainers. There are nearly 500 staff that make up the non-instructional lines, and this number will continue to grow as needed to meet the needs of our students. As for substitutes, the increases that you see in the document are due to the line item being under-budgeted in prior years, as well as to compensate for substitutes’ salary agreement giving increases to the hundreds of people that support our young people when our teachers need to take a day off.

Q

What does the increase in English as a New Language (ENL) funding mean for the ICSD?

A

Like special education, the district takes our responsibilities to students needing ENL support very seriously and analyzes the required services necessary to meet the needs yearly.

Q

How does this budget support the social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health (MH) needs of our students?

A

The budget supports all current staff as well as the creation of a number of SEL- and MH-related positions, such as six (6) Mentor TAs and two (2) Engagement Specialists at the secondary buildings, and two (2) additional social workers. The budget also maintains our partnership with BOCES programming, as well as our partnerships with organizations that offer services to our students and families. We continue to review needs by building and increasing mental health positions as needed due to the flexibility this budget allows. Finally, we will continue our commitment to integrated, culturally responsive social-emotional learning through sustained RULER implementation.