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Tentative school district budget would have only minor tax increases

No cuts to programs or staff projected for this year

— The new state aid would total $324,047 or a 5.41 percent increase. The addition of this funding would make the Skaneateles school district budget’s current shortfall $119,743 or .41 percent, Bates said. This would in turn create a projected 2.5 percent tax levy increase and an estimated 2.8 percent tax rate increase for the town of Skaneateles to cover the budget.

The other towns in the Skaneateles school district would fare differently than Skaneateles under this scenario – Spafford’s tax rate would decrease .23 percent (because of its projected 115 percent equalization rate), and the other towns of Marcellus, Sennett, Niles and Owasco would see increases of between 4.8 and 4.9 percent.

As of March 30, the reductions needed to balance the Skaneateles school district budget if a 2.5 percent tax levy increase were passed would be $164,669, Bates said. He suggested that cuts to the unemployment reserve fund ($50,000), funding for field renovation and supplies ($12,800), the replacement of a retiring high school chemistry teacher with a part-time teacher, and the mid-year retirement of a special education teacher (who recently told the board of his/her plans) would bring the necessary budget reduction number down to $24,955.

This final amount of shortfall, Bates suggested, could help to be reduced by the board deciding to charge usage fees for all non-school events in district buildings and on district grounds.

Skaneateles is the only school district in the area that does not charge usage fees, Bates said.

“We are also the only free venue in town right now,” D’Angelo added.

From July 2011 until mid-March 2012, there were 500 school activities on school grounds, but 800 non-school activities on school grounds, Bates said. All of those activities require light and heat, custodial cleanup and general staff cooperation from the district, he said. Some district charge $5 per person for non-school events, he said.

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