B'ville school budget: spending down, tax levy increases

— Maintain quality education with less funding was the challenge facing the Baldwinsville Central School District’s Board of Education this year.

Approved during the April 16 meeting, the $92,416,182 proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year reflects a .28 percent ($263,067) decrease in overall spending. However, it also reflects a $317,000 increase in the tax levy due to cuts in federal funding, sales tax money and revenues. This means residents of the Baldwinsville Central School District will see a .65 percent increase in their 2012-13 school tax bill should the district’s budget pass on May 15.

“We’ve really tried to control spending,” said Superintendent Jeanne Dangle, adding they have made “reductions across the board so we’re not decimating any one program.”

According to the district’s budget brochure, “The board’s and district’s goal was to close the [$4.3 million] gap while preserving instruction and programs and keeping the tax levy increase at the district’s limit of .65 percent. [Board members] examined all areas of the budget for cost reduction, looking to make small cuts across the entire budget rather than reduce or eliminate one or a few programs.”

“When we look at our successes – academic, athletic, musical – our budget has been developed to maintain these levels of excellence,” Dangle said.

Overall, $1,702,018 in total reductions were made to the proposed budget including cuts to staff, late bus runs and facilities’ use and maintenance. A change that may have a significant impact the community is the district’s decision to limit access to school buildings, which will be closed on 13 holidays, after 3 p.m. Saturdays and all day Sundays. Dangle said if a building needs to be open beyond times listed, the group or organization using the building must pay all associated costs.

Earlier this school year, unpopular cost-saving measures such as closing an elementary school (saving $1.3 million in the 2012-13 school year) and reducing the high school day from nine periods to eight periods (saving $625,000) were also discussed as ways to close the $4.3 million gap. However, after receiving community feedback against those options, the board decided to seek alternate routes including using $1.3 million in reserves.

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