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Jordan-Elbridge proposes $27M budget

— If numbers stay steady, residents of the Jordan-Elbridge School District could see a small increase in the annual budget.

In a budget outlined by Superintendent James Froio Wednesday night, there is a .27 percent proposed increase for 2012-13 from 2011-12. The proposed spending plan is $27,100,000, just $37,429 higher than the previous year's plan.

"What you end up with is a budget that is almost identical to last year's," Froio said.

The district is proposing a 1.7 percent increase on the tax levy, below its alotted 3.225 percent. The property tax cap levy enacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided a formula for the district to use, which results in the 3.225 percent tax cap for Jordan-Elbridge.

The proposal also shows a 5.25 percent increase in state aid, providing $13,564,919 in revenue. The district will increase its use of reserves by 233 percent — $100,000 will be moved to the fund balance for 2012-13. Only $30,000 was planned for 2011-12.

The district faces a steep decrease in federal revenue. The funds will decrease by $750,000, or 88.24 percent. J-E will only be receiving $100,000 in federal funds this year.

"It's a cliff all districts are falling off of," Froio said. "We knew it was coming."

J-E also plans to add 5.5 teacher positions in 2012-13, after multiple positions were added at the school year's start, as well.

No cuts to sports, band, music or any other co-curricular activities are expected.

Up for public vote, along with the budget and board members, will be the annual bus referendum. The district hopes to add $505,745 for transportation, which includes three new buses, three small buses and one suburban. Voters will also have a say on the creation of a reserve account for buses. The reserve fund will cap at $750,000, and the funds will be put in the account over time. The current reserve fund is down to $152,459. Froio said that account has "reached the end of its life."

Terms for board members Connie Drake, Erica O'Brien and Penny Feeney are up this year.

There will be a public budget forum at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27. Froio will also be on a "budget roadshow," presenting the budget at numerous locations in the next month. A list of those dates and times can be found on the Jordan-Elbridge website.

Froio stressed that the numbers presented were not solid, and were subject to change after the state adopts its budget by April 1.

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