May 02, 2011 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Baldwinsville Central School District officials have approved a $92,679,249 budget for the 2011-12, which cuts spending by $990,263.
Despite the decrease, the tax levy (amount to be raised through property taxes) will increase by 1.8 percent (from $47,822,714 in 2010-11 to $48,683, 523 in 2011-12) should voters approve the budget. This is due in the most part to reductions in state aid, increases in costs and the economic condition of the state and nation.
According to James Rodems, assistant superintendent for management services at Baldwinsville, major components of the proposed budget are salaries and benefits, especially health insurance and retirement costs. He said staffing needs were “closely examined” while maintaining a commitment to quality education programs within the district. Overall, there will be six layoffs in addition to 18 positions left vacant due to retirements.
“These unfilled positions are not necessary due to student population decreases,” Rodems said.
He added the budget uses reserves and fund balance to reduce the budget impact on taxpayers.
“We will be using $1,500,000 in designated fund balance, plus $4,864,790 in reserves – the bulk of the reserves are coming from the Tax Certiorari Reserve and is the balance from the monies set aside to pay for a possible settlement with Anheuser Busch. We are returning this to the taxpayers by including this in our revenues for 2011-12,” Rodems said. “We will also be using $1.2 million in an accrued liability for retiree health insurance.”
While the exact tax rate will not be set until August, it is estimated the 2011-12 tax rate would be $23.25 should the budget be approved. This means a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $2,325 in school taxes, which is $41 more than last year.
Officials knew it would be a tough year, and requested public input from the beginning to develop a budget that voters would approve.
“This year, more than ever, we have provided detailed budget analysis at board meetings and posted on line. We know that we face multi-year economic issues. We will continue to work with our staff, parents, students and community to develop budgets that reflect both the educational needs and the economic ability of the community to pay for these educational needs,” Rodems said. “This is a balancing act that we readily acknowledge. We also know that reasonable people can disagree with budget decisions.”
There will be a public hearing regarding the proposed budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday May 10 at Durgee Junior High School, 29 East Oneida St. (district campus) in Baldwinsville. The public vote, held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 at Baker High School, 29 East Oneida St. (district campus), will also include a separate proposition (Proposition 2) and a board of education election.
Proposition 2 proposes purchasing six 65-passenger buses, one 42-passenger wheelchair bus and two six-passenger vehicles for $881,108. District officials usually include an annual proposition to purchase replacement vehicles for its existing fleet to avoid emergency expenditures when funds are not available.
Candidates for three open seats on the board of education include Lysander residents Jeffrey Marier, Roman Diamond and Cheryl Cowen. Board members Colin Kahl and Victor Jenkins will not seek re-election and board member Mark Manning resigned in February after moving out of the area.