School performs balancing act
Board weighs quality of education and fiscal responsibility
By Willie Kiernan
Though the school budget has been increasing steadily the past few years, Bob Dubik, Cazenovia Superintendent of Schools, says it is not because of an increase in spending but rather an increase in costs in energy and insurance. There have been scarcely any new hiring in the past several years.
"Right now, we're trying to keep our expenditures low," Dubik said. "We're trying to keep any increase minimal."
With the annual budget vote approaching on Tuesday May 15, the Cazenovia School Board and the finance committee have been meeting since January to iron out the details.
"We'll adopt a proposed budget at our next board meeting," said Bill Furlong, Assistant Superintendent of Cazenovia Schools. "So we're not that far away."
Due to the recent shift in state government, schools should benefit this year. Cazenovia may be eligible for a 3 percent increase in state aid.
"Under Pataki, there was always a low-ball budget," Furlong said. "With Governor Spitzer, there will be an increase for school budgets, however, we may not be one of those schools."
Spitzer outlined a formula where Caz didn't qualify for an increase, but then also suggested that every school would get at least a 3 percent raise. The state budget will be late, so an estimate of state aid will have to be in place in time for the mandated vote. According to Dubik, Cazenovia usually expects the lowest amount it may receive and adjusts the budget accordingly.
"We need to maintain the high quality of education our community has come to expect," Dubik said. "And we also have to be fiscally responsible."
Items on ballot
Two school board seats are up for election this year. Matt Judge and Pat Vogl both will be seeking their second terms. School board members have three-year terms.