Skip to main content
district home

2015-16 Budget

Resources on the 2015-16 Budget


May 19, 2015

Marcellus voters approve $32.3 million budget; elect board members

On May 19, Marcellus Central School District voters approved the district’s $32.3 million 2015-16 budget proposal and elected three Board of Education members.

Voters approved:
  • A $32,253,589 budget for the 2015-16 school year that increases spending 2.05 percent ($647,775), and carries a 0.74 percent tax levy increase: 601 yes, 267 no.
  • The purchase of four school buses and one four-wheel-drive, seven-passenger vehicle at a cost not to exceed $478,313: 600 yes, 269 no.
  • An annual budget increase of $9,670 for Marcellus Free Library: 610 yes, 258 no.
Voters also elected three new members to the Marcellus Board of Education:
  • Michael McAuliff: 658 votes.
  • Patty Sager: 632 votes.
  • Janine Lundrigan: 113 votes.
Sager and McAuliff each will serve a three-year term, beginning July 1. Lundrigan will serve a one-year term effective immediately.
“We want to thank all those who took the time to vote today,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig J. Tice said. “It’s gratifying to move forward with a fiscal plan that preserves and enhances Marcellus’ quality academic program while limiting the impact on our taxpayers.”
The 2015-16 tax levy increase of 0.74 percent was the largest increase the district could have passed with approval from a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of voters, per the state’s property tax levy limit law. The law requires each school district to calculate its own levy limit based on a complex, multi-step formula. Any increase above this limit would have required approval of a supermajority, or at least 60 percent of voters.

Administrators reduced the tax levy increase – or the amount of revenue raised through property taxes – by employing a number of strategies, including:
  • Allocating $601,366 in reserve funds.
  • Sharing transportation services with Cortland City School District, for the busing of special needs students.
  • Returning some administrative services to the district from BOCES.
  • Continuing to work with the Central New York Health Consortium, to find ways to reduce the district’s cost for employee benefits. 
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank the Marcellus voters for approving this budget,” said board President Ryan Riefler. “Once again, the community has assisted us in our mission to help students develop the responsibility, confidence and knowledge they need to thrive in a 21st century world.” 

April 1, 2015

State adopts 2015-16 budget
Schools to see more aid in approved state budget; increases tied to another reboot of teacher evaluation system 

"School District Budget" pie chart graphic
After an unusual state budget process that included a mid-session change in Assembly leadership and preliminary school aid data that was withheld from school districts by the governor, New York’s legislative budget shows an estimated $969,380 increase in state funding for the Marcellus Central School District. To receive the increase, legislators approving the budget are requiring that the district retool its teacher evaluation plan – known as the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) – under a new set of undetermined rules. The plan must be approved by the State Education Department by Nov. 15.
“I am thankful to have these state aid projections from Albany,” Marcellus Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig J. Tice said. “That we know the school aid amount, in addition to our calculated tax levy limit, the Board of Education and administrators will be able to gauge how much of the district’s reserves will be needed to balance the budget.”

The district’s estimated 9.57 percent year-to-year increase in New York state school aid, approved as part of a $150 billion state spending plan for 2015-16, is exclusive of building aid, which is paid to the school districts by the state for capital improvement costs already incurred.

The amount includes a $758,793 restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment – or GEA. This represents a partial restoration of the amount that has been deducted annually from the district’s promised state aid since 2010. The GEA has been used as a way to help the state balance its budget. Statewide, nearly $10 billion in school aid has been removed from districts since the GEA was introduced. Legislators have agreed to end the GEA permanently in 2016-17.

“Since the 2010-11 school year, the Marcellus Central School District has lost more than $9 million, which has shifted the burden back on the local taxpayers,” Dr. Tice said.

The final 2015-16 state budget, approved just before 3 a.m. on April 1, included some elements of the education reform measures championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Most hotly debated among the reforms were mandated requirements that will require every school district in the state to negotiate a new version of the APPR for the evaluation of teachers and principals. This will be the fourth APPR plan in five years for school districts and the second time in recent years that school aid will be linked to the state’s approval of a local system for rating teacher effectiveness. A similar approach was used in the 2012-13 state budget to incentivize school districts to meet APPR state mandates.

Legislators approving the state budget have assigned the State Education Department (SED) to be in charge of overhauling the new APPR evaluations. It is believed the system will retain a similar scale used now for rating teachers, known as a four-tiered HEDI scale: Highly Effective; Effective; Developing and Ineffective. There was no language contained in the approved budget bills that defines exactly how a teacher/principal effectiveness rating will be determined, although it will be based, in most cases, on two determining factors: student performance on assessments and classroom observations.

The state will assume a much greater role in determining teacher effectiveness than under the current system. Student performance will be reflected in growth scores based on state assessments, state-determined Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and other “optional” assessments that must be approved by the State Education Department, according to some of the details contained in the bill. Classroom observations must be conducted by both the building principal and an “independent” evaluator.

The district will be analyzing the details of the new APPR rules as they become available and reviewing the state budget to determine its short- and long-term impact on the Marcellus Central School District.

The following is a brief overview of the state budget as it pertains to education in New York:State aid – The 2015-16 state budget includes a $1.3 billion year-to-year increase in aid to school districts statewide. Local aid increases are tied to new APPR teacher evaluation plans. A district must have a plan approved by November 15, 2015, in order to receive any increase in aid over 2014-15. The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) has been partially reduced in 2015-16 and is scheduled to end in 2016-17.
Teacher evaluations – The New York State Education Department will oversee the latest overhaul of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teachers and principals. There will be two components to teacher evaluations: student performance on assessments and classroom observations. The value assigned to each component has not been determined. The budget also establishes strict new rules for educators who are rated “ineffective” in two or more consecutive years.
Teacher tenure – The probationary period for teachers and principals is increased from three years to four years. Teachers must have effectiveness ratings of either “Highly Effective” or “Effective” in three out of the four years to qualify for tenure. A teacher or principal who is rated “Ineffective” in year four cannot be granted tenure, but can have the probationary term extended by one year.
Underperforming schools – The budget sets a timeline for schools that are deemed “chronically underperforming” to improve or face consequences. Districts would be required to have improvement plans approved by the State Education Department and meet objectives contained within the plan. Schools would have one or two years to demonstrate improvement depending on how long it has been underperforming. Failure to show improvement could result in a school being put into receivership, with control of the school being handed over to a state-designated non-profit.Visit Education Speaks to learn more about the 2015-16 state budget.

Visit the Marcellus Central School District’s budget web page for more information about the impact of the state budget on the 2015-16 school budget proposal as it becomes available.

Copyright 2015, Capital Region BOCES School Communications Portfolio; All rights reserved. For more information or permission to use, call 518-464-3960. 

March 30, 2015

Marcellus holds 2015-16 Community Budget Forum

Front page of Community Budget Forum presentationDuring the district's annual Community Budget Forum, Marcellus Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio, Board President Ryan Riefler and Vice President John Fuller delivered a presentation about what's known so far about the 2015-16 proposed budget. The district's projected state aid funding had not been released by the state by the time the 6 p.m. meeting began. Mr. Sonnacchio said he expected that information would be available Tuesday. Once released, that figure will shed more light on how the district can offset its $1 million gap so far projected for 2015-16, Mr. Sonnacchio said.

Click here to view the Power Point presentation shown during the forum.

March 19, 2015

Budget planning slowly moves ahead for 2015-16

Despite the unusual way the state’s budget season has unfolded in Albany so far this year, efforts are underway in Marcellus to draft a 2015-16 district budget that maintains the level of educational excellence residents have come to expect from Marcellus Central Schools.

The state budget proposal presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 21 calls for a $1.1 billion (or 4.8 percent) increase in state funding for schools next year, but only if state lawmakers go along with a series of education reforms outlined by the governor. Absent those reforms  – which include an overhaul of the existing teacher evaluation law, more stringent tenure requirements, funding to expand preschool programs, lifting the cap on charter schools and a new turnaround process for the state’s lowest performing schools –   school districts would see no increase in state aid next year or the year after.

Because of this caveat in the governor’s budget proposal, the state’s Division of Budget announced it would not release 2015-16 state aid school “runs” until the Legislature passes a state budget in April. School districts typically use those runs, which list how much additional money each of the state’s nearly 700 school districts would get under the governor’s budget proposal, to calculate their tax levy limits and plan their budgets.

“Without the benefit of the 2015-16 aid runs, we are operating on the advice of our support organizations, which is to assume no increase in state aid,” Marcellus Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio said. “In other words, we’re basing our 2015-16 budget on this year’s figures. The district’s tax levy limit also remains in flux, due to the lack of accurate information from the state.”

At the Board of Education’s Jan. 27 meeting, Mr. Sonnacchio told board members the district currently faces a $775,000 budget gap between its projected revenues and expenses in 2015-16. Since that meeting, additional information about expense-side items has been released, including the district’s required contribution rate (13.26 percent) to the teachers’ retirement system (TRS) and the projected increase in employee health insurance premium costs.

“Thanks to the cooperative efforts between the school district and its collective bargaining units, including changes to the prescription-drug plan and an additional 1 percent contribution from employees, our year-to-year increase in healthcare costs is expected to be only about 3 percent,” Mr. Sonnacchio said.

In a typical budget development season, administrators would be delivering regular budget updates to board members at every meeting, based on information released from the state. But Mr. Sonnacchio has had much less to report while district leaders wait for the Legislature to finalize its budget.

“This year, it appears most school districts will be having a two- to three-meeting budget process – and Marcellus is no exception,” Mr. Sonnacchio said. “There’s really no information to share and probably won’t be until the state passes its budget in April.”

The annual community budget forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, in the high school learning commons. (Note: The forum originally was to be held in the auditorium, but has been relocated to the learning commons.) 


Jan. 23, 2015

Update: No aid increase for next two years unless Legislature approves Cuomo’s proposal

According to language in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget bill, if the legislature does not enact the education reforms the governor outlined in his budget address on Wednesday, Jan. 21, districts will not receive any aid greater than their 2014-15 amount for each of the next two years. 

Complicating matters for districts, the Division of Budget announced that it would not be releasing school aid runs until the Legislature passes the governor’s education reform agenda. The aid runs are usually released within hours of the governor’s budget presentation.

The reforms Mr. Cuomo proposed include an overhaul of the existing teacher evaluation law, more stringent tenure requirements, funding to expand preschool programs, lifting the cap on charter schools, and a new turnaround process for the state’s lowest performing schools.

In all, the $1.1 billion school aid increase includes just more than $1 billion in new school aid, $25 million for expanded preschool programs, and $25 million for other education reforms.

The Executive Budget Proposal now heads to the state legislature for consideration. A final state budget is expected by April 1, 2015.

Copyright 2015, Capital Region BOCES School Communications Portfolio; All rights reserved. For more information or permission to use, call 518-464-3960.

Jan. 22, 2015

Governor calls for $1.1 billion school aid increase and education reforms, with no mention of the GEA

Under the Executive Budget Proposal outlined by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 21, state funding for schools would increase by $1.1 billion next year – provided state lawmakers go along with a series of education reforms that he described as “ambitious” in his combined budget address and State of the State message.

The reforms Mr. Cuomo proposed include an overhaul of the existing teacher evaluation law, more stringent tenure requirements, funding to expand preschool programs, lifting the cap on charter schools, and a new turnaround process for the state’s lowest performing schools.

An additional $1.1 billion in state aid next year would represent a 4.8 percent increase over the current year. The governor did not detail how the money would be distributed, and district-by-district breakdowns are not yet available.

The governor also did not address the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, which is the mechanism through which the state has diverted promised school funding over the last five years to meet other budget priorities. In that time, schools have lost more than $9.52 billion cumulatively to the GEA, and they are still owed $1.04 billion.

The overall proposed increase in aid falls short of the $2 billion or more that the New York State Board of Regents and leading education groups have called for to meet the needs of students next year.

Read more.


Oct, 20, 2014

The Board of Education on Oct. 20, 2014, adopted the 2015-16 Budget Development Calendar.

Oct. 2, 2014

Learn more about the NYS Property Tax Freeze Credit

Next month, some New York homeowners will start receiving tax rebate checks as part of the Property Tax Freeze Credit that was signed into law in April 2014. The law, passed as part of the 2014-15 New York state budget, is designed as a short-term tax relief program that reimburses qualifying New York homeowners (outside of New York City) for increases in local property taxes on their primary residences.

Homeowners may be eligible for tax freeze credits on their school taxes in each of the next two years based, in part, on budget decisions made by their local school district. For homeowners to qualify, their school district must have adopted a 2014-15 budget with a tax levy increase that did not exceed its property tax levy cap. Marcellus’ 2014-15 budget, approved by voters May 20, included a tax levy increase equal to the district’s cap of 2.37 percent.
To learn more about the Property Tax Freeze Credit, check out this fact sheet



Our Schools
K.C. Heffernan Elementary
C.S. Driver Middle School
Marcellus Sr. High School

Communications Office
Instructional Technology
Buildings and Grounds
Food Service
High School Guidance

About Us
Marcellus Academic Club
Staff Directory
School Report Card
Board of Education
Employment Opportunities
Use of Facilities

District Info
District Calendar
Code of Conduct
Use of Facilities
District RTI Plan
Emergency S.A.V.E. Plan
Common Core
Mandated Information
Sex Offender Registry

Staff Links
Personnel Links
Staff E-Mail
Sub Service
Teacher Verification
IEP Direct

School Messenger
SchoolTool Parent Portal
Dignity Act
Code of Conduct
New student Registration
Sex Offender Registry
How to Solve Problems
Summer School