The proposed Baldwinsville Central School district budget is ready for the May 15 vote.
At $87.8 million, the total budget increased by $4.9 million from last year ($82.9 million). On the other hand, the district received $1.8 million more this year in state aid. Overall, the total tax levy (amount to be collected from residents within the school district after state aid, tuition and other revenues are applied) is $45 million.
Officials said there should be no tax rate increase for residents in the towns of Lysander and Van Buren because assessments increased last year.
"If your assessment did not go up this year, you will not see an increase in your school tax bill," said Mike Shusda, assistant superintendent at Baldwinsville.
The tax rate increase for the town of Clay, however, will depend on the change in the equalization rate for Clay.
Where is the money going?
With a 4 percent increase in the tax levy from last year, district residents will see three quarters of the budget go towards program costs if approved.
"77 percent of what we're spending goes directly to the kids either in classroom costs or transportation," Shusda said.
The biggest contributors to the increase are health insurance costs, employee retirement, fuel and employee salaries, which are negotiated through unions.
"Our insurance and retirement costs are going up like everyone else's," Shusda said. "Plus, the cost of fuel is even higher for the district now than it was in Katrina times."
So, what else is on the May 15 ballot?
When residents enter election booths on May 15, they will not only vote on the budget, but will also elect new school board members and vote on a bus purchase and whether to create a capital reserve for future construction projects.
The district would like to purchase 14 66-passenger buses at an estimated average cost of $87,570 each with a maximum cost of $1.2 million. Shusda said due to left over parts from 2007 at the manufacturer, the buses will be purchased at a discounted price.