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Cazenovia school tax levy could increase 3.5 percent

The current proposed Cazenovia school budget for 2010-11 includes an increase in the school tax levy of 3.25 to 3.5 percent.

While tax rates have historically increased by less, cuts to state aid of more than $1 million have forced the district to make cuts across the board, cutting $1 million from what the budget would have been. Despite the 3.25 to 3.5 percent increase, the budget will only be increasing .75 percent.

"Everyone always asks: what are we going to cut? We try to keep it the furthest away from the kids as possible," Superintendent Robert Dubik said. "'What's the minimal impact?'"

Of the $1 million reduction, about $750,000 will come from personnel. The district is reducing positions through retirement and attrition. Five staff members will retire at the end of the school year, and they will not be replaced.

"We're fortunate this year -- the retirements are going to help us," Dubik said.

These positions are not being removed simply because of budgetary issues, Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong said -- the school is also facing declining admissions.

The remaining $250,000 will come from areas across the budget. There will be reductions in equipment, software, buildings and grounds, transportation, professional development and more. The athletic department will also face cuts in various aspects of the program; the district will reduce uniforms and equipment spending, as well as potentially combining coaching positions.

"It's really a little bit of everything," Dubik said.

The district is also using $500,000 from their reserves to offset the increase. But while helpful in the short term, drawing that amount from the reserves every year is not a sustainable solution.

And next year could be harder for the district, with federal stimulus assistance ending after the 2010-11 school year, the possibility of fewer retirements, and more potential cuts in state aid.

"We're not out of the woods yet, by any means," Dubik said.

The board will adopt the proposed budget at their 6:30 p.m. April 12 meeting. The board welcomes public input at the meeting, and anyone who wants to provide input before April 12 is welcome to call Superintendent Robert Dubik or Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong at 655-1317.

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