By Darryl Patteson
The Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education unanimously passed the 2008-2009 budget at Monday night's meeting at Eagle Hill Middle School.
Assistant Superintendent Mike Vespi presented the final revisions to the budget, which was presented to the board earlier in the year in three parts. Vespi said that he was happy to see that the estimated tax rate increase will drop from 2.78 percent last year to 1.9 percent this year.
"The goal is to have excellent programs for the students and keep the tax rate low for the community," he said.
The budget, which came in just over $72 million, had average growth, something Vespi attributed to a stable enrollment in the district. The budget, Vespi said, will be enough money to run the school.
One major for the concern for F-M and most other Americans is the rising cost of fuel.
"It's a moving target," Vespi said. "We continue to monitor it every week. At this point in the budget process, we've put enough in the budget to get by at the current prices."
This fluctuation can make budgeting a very difficult process. However, Vespi added, districts in the area have already been discussing limiting road trips for athletic teams and other ways of reducing travel. Regardless, if the fuel prices become a problem during the school year, the district could be strapped.
"If you run into a problem with fuel, you have to look to other places in the budget to find the money," Co-Vice President Mike Masse said.
School districts do get a break from gasoline taxes, something that Vespi said helps ease the costs on the district.
"Thank goodness we don't pay the tax," he said. "Fortunately, we have some cushion."
The district will also attack the situation by upgrading seven vehicles in its fleet, including four 70-passenger buses, a 36-passenger wheelchair bus, a mail van and a service van. Part of the Vehicle Replacement Proposition, these purchases will add up to $566,755.