63% Allocated for Education
The Orange Board of Finance wishes to ensure that all taxpayers in Town have a solid understanding of how their tax money is spent. To that end, the following article outlines the major Town budget components, the spending on education, and the trends of spending categories over time.
Summary of Town Budget Components
The Orange Town Budget is comprised of 4 major elements: Amity Regional High School, grades 7-12; Orange Board of Education (OBOE), grades K-6; Town Departments; and Capital & Debt. As seen in the graphic below, the amounts & percentage of the Total for the current fiscal year 20-21 are: Amity $25,003,802 (34%); OBOE $21,414,585 (29%); Town Departments $24,343,060 (33%); and Capital & Debt $2,993,859 (4%).
Education Spending is 63%+ of the Budget
The Town has been long committed to excellence in all its endeavors, including education. Personally, I recall that “the school system” was an important factor when I chose to move to Orange back in 1983.
The Town of Orange spending on education is the sum of the Amity & OBOE budgets, $46,418,387 in total for current FY 20-21. This commitment to Educational excellence is well expressed by the fact that we currently spend nearly 63% of the overall budget on our school systems.
Moreover, part of the Capital & Debt service should also be included. As Kevin Houlihan, Chairman of the Orange Board of Finance, explained, “The Orange BOE use our Town buildings. Major repairs to those buildings are funded by the Town through bonds. This funding is also part of the Educational cost.” Therefore, the total amount spent on Education is actually higher than 63%.
Kevin Moffett, long-time OBOF member commented, “The chart shows that education is in fact important as it’s 2/3 of our entire budget. We have to consider all the parts in our budget preparation, our schools, our town departments, and Amity.”
Town Budget by Service Sector – Spending Trends over Time
Each year the Town Finance & Administration Department tracks spending by eight major “Service Sectors.” These major categories are: General Government, Public Safety, Public Works & Public Buildings, Culture & Recreation, Health & Welfare, Employee Benefits, Education, and Town & Debt Services. Below is a graph of the most recent information for last 8 years – FY 13-14 through FY 20-21.
TRENDS: From the above graph, two trends are highly noticeable: first, Employee Benefits has risen significantly, particularly in the last three budget years. Health Insurance costs and increased contributions to Pensions are the primary drivers of this increase. Secondly, investments in Education have climbed steadily, each year over the last 8 years. Once again, the Town’s financial commitment to education is readily visible, even though overall student population has declined measurably over this period.
by Jim Leahy, Vice-Chairman, Orange Board of Finance