The Pioneer Board of Education has heard details of a $59,421,266 budget proposal for 2021-22 that would increase spending 1.38 percent.

Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Silvaroli reviewed several budget categories at the board's regular meeting March 2. These included salaries and benefits, BOCES, transportation, and debt service. 

He said the budget as proposed represents a carry forward of current staff while allowing for a number of teacher retirements. A special education teacher for an autism class has been added to cover anticipated need in that area. 

Meanwhile, enrollment from 2019-20 to 2020-21 has dropped by 168, and stands currently at 2,256.

Mr. Silvaroli said the district's expenditure plan of $59,421,266 balances with the amount of revenue proposed under the governor's state aid figures. The plan maintains existing programs and services, preserves building discretionary budgets, and supports extraclassroom and after-school activities.

The budget also provides for transportation for summer learning programs, which are receiving increased emphasis this year in light of the pandemic. 

A tax levy increase of 1.32 percent is in line with the state property tax cap for Pioneer, Mr. Silvaroli said. No additional use of the Assigned Fund Balance, or district savings account, is planned. Also, the plan relies on $2.3 million of the 'one-time' COVID-19 Supplemental Stimulus provided by the federal government.

More budget deliberations are planned at the board's next regular meeting on March 16. Target date for board adoption is April 20. The district's annual budget vote is May 18.