WHITEHALL — A school social worker and a literacy teacher would be added at Whitehall Junior-Senior High School as part of a nearly $16.9 million proposed budget that is well under the tax cap.
The spending plan is an increase of about $375,000, or 2.27 percent, from the current year.
The tax levy would increase by 0.51 percent to $5.574 million, which is well below the district’s 3.31 percent cap. The district could have increased the levy by another $155,000 without going over the tax cap.
Superintendent of Schools Patrick Dee said he is proud of the budget and thanked the work of the staff that went into it.
“We worked extremely hard to keep the tax rate low, be fair and responsible to our citizens,” Dee said at Monday’s Whitehall Board of Education meeting.
The new positions are based upon program needs, according to Dee. In addition, the budget includes funding for positions that are currently vacant, including a Spanish teacher, librarian and foreign language teacher, as well as two special education teachers to replace people who are departing at the end of the school year.
The budget also includes money to hire an additional kindergarten teacher if student numbers increase at the primary level, according to Dee.
Other than that, Dee said there are no major changes in the budget.
About 80 percent of the budget is made up of salaries and benefits, according to Business Manager Jodi Birch.
Dee said the state Legislature has passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law to allow school districts to set aside money in reserve funds to save for teacher retirement system costs. Whitehall will be putting an amount of money, to be determined later, into the fund.
The district is set to receive about $10.46 million in state aid and it plans to tap about $200,000 from the district’s fund balance.
The board will hold a budget presentation for the community at its May 13 meeting at 6 p.m.