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Canastota's school budget vote tomorrow

Voters living in the Canastota Central School District will decide on the three propositions placed on the ballot for tomorrow's vote.

First is the $24.7 million budget, which is a 2.68 percent increase over last year's tax levy. District spending is up 3.28 percent from last year's budget, due to the increase in fuel, health insurance, contractual obligations and BOCES costs, according to Don Campanaro, audit committee chair.

Secondly, voters will decide on the purchase of four new buses. The district purchases buses on a five-year rotation schedule. After trade-in values and state aid paid over a period of five years, taxpayers will spend around $3,000 per bus.

After several suggestions from the district's accountant, Pat Powers of D'Arcangelo and Associates CPA's, the district will ask voters for a 10-year capital reserve fund, not to exceed $5 million, which is the ceiling amount set and cannot be exceeded by law. It also cannot be used by the district without voter approval.

The purpose of a Capital Reserve Fund is to put money away for "a rainy day," said Superintendent of Schools Fred Bragan. It can be used for renovations, improvements or additions to the facilities. Bragan said the district is looking at repairs that need to be done in the future to the school's outdoor track and mentioned the old boiler system at the high school and the fact it may need to be replaced.

Any excess money in the general fund after this fiscal year and years to follow can be placed in the Capital Reserve Fund. It all doesn't have to be placed into it or there may be times when the district cannot place any money into it. Bragan told voters during the public hearing last week to think of it as your household savings account. Any money left after all household bills are paid could be placed in a fund for a building project or an item that may need replacing.

"It's wise to have a Capital Reserve Fund," Bragan said. "You can pay cash for things instead of borrowing the money. We've talked about it. It's time to do it."

Running for school board unopposed are incumbents Michael Buda and Bernard Gleeson. Gleeson serves as the board's president.

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