Facts to Consider regarding the Amity Budget Request
Student Enrollment and Staffing:
Student enrollment at Amity has in fact dropped by 425 students since 2009 – 2010.
Despite this fact staff has increased dramatically over the past 4 years by over 16 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs).
Over the past 5 years the Amity spending has increased by over $8.4 million.
Impact of Repeated Surpluses:
Amity has realized budget surpluses over the past 4 years averaging close to $3 million per year. So why should you care? These large surpluses force our hand when it comes to overall spending & taxes.
Taxes in Orange may not have had to increase at all except to cover the Amity budget increase, which as it turns out Amity did not need. In fact, in each of the last 4 years, the Amity school system provided excellent educational services for its students without a need for ANY INCREASE! The result of a 0% budget increase would just have been a smaller surplus.
This inaccurate over-budgeting also robs resources from other needs like the Orange Elementary Schools or other town departments or projects.
The Orange Board of Finance unanimously – both Democrats & Republicans—supports a 0.41% increase, noting that a more modest increase, or in fact a ZERO increase, would not hurt Amity at all.
The Amity Board of Education REJECTED that recommendation opting for a 3.99% hike which results in a increase from estimated actual expenditures to budget of over $4-5 million, even as student enrollment declines rapidly.
Your vote on MAY 3 counts:
- With a YES vote: You Approve of the way Budgeting is being managed at Amity.
- With a NO vote: You Disapprove of the way Budgeting is being managed at Amity.
If the Amity budget is rejected, the budget would go back to Amity to be reduced. After that, there would be a new vote on a revised budget.
By Jim Leahy, Vice-Chairman, Orange Board of Finance