The proposed 2011-12 budget for Cazenovia Central School District was approved at the latest Board of Education meeting on April 11. At the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong presented the specifics of the budget. A public briefing on the proposed budget will be held on May 10; the official vote will be held May 17.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed cuts to school aid had left districts all over New York State scrambling to bridge large gaps in their budgets. Even after restoring $272 million of school aid in the state’s tentative $132.5 billion budget, many districts, including Cazenovia, will still have to make changes.
“Our income comes from two places, taxes and state aid. When our revenue is decreased, where are we supposed to get it? We have to find it in increased taxes,” Superintendent Bob Dubik said. “The four areas we got the money from are a combination of increased taxes, faculty concessions, district reductions and use of funds balance.”
Cazenovia schools initially faced a deficit of $1.25 million due to cuts in state aid. The restored budget returns $218,000 to the district. Dubik explained that the funds will allow the district to keep an Athletic Trainer and reduce the increase of the proposed tax levy from 3.3 to 2.9 percent.
“The board worked real hard, knowing the financial times we’re in, to keep the tax levy down. These are certainly different times; there are tough decisions to make. We heard clearly from the community. They didn’t want programs eliminated,” Dubik said. “This is the consequence. We could have cut more from the budget, but we would’ve really cut into programming; we kept all academic programs.”
The various reductions that the proposed budget would implement include cutting back on equipment purchases, athletics, BOCES services, printing and mailing costs, assistant coaches, Elementary Summer School and administrative costs.
By reducing equipment acquisitions in the 2011-12 budget year, the district can save $100,000. Recycling athletic gear and minimizing rental costs in the athletic program could net $50,000 and the reduction of BOCES services can save $80,000. Distributing newsletters and notifications electronically could save the district $10,ooo, while downsizing assistant coaches from some of the athletic teams can cut $14,203 from the budget. Eliminating summer school classes at Burton Street Elementary (which are not state mandated) would net the district an additional $14,500, and decreasing other administrative costs could save the district $21,600.
The district plans to reduce staffing by seven positions. It is not filling vacant positions left by retiring teachers, but class sizes will stay about the same because of declining enrollment.
In addition to contract negotiations with the teacher’s union that will save the district $550,000, Dubik and his fellow administrators have agreed to a pay freeze for next year.
The next budget presentation will be a public briefing at 6:30 p.m. May 10. Budget brochures will be mailed before May 10 so all who are interested in learning more about specific reductions may bring their questions and concerns to the briefing. The annual school budget vote will be held May 17.