F-M Board of Education adopts 2013-14 budget proposal

— On April 8, the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education adopted a $76,410,610 budget proposal for 2013-14 that increases spending 2.46 percent resulting in a 2.51 percent property tax levy increase.

The proposal includes some reductions and cost-saving measures that would allow the district to maintain its current level of programs and services. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 13, and district residents will vote on the proposal May 21.

“We have continued our practice of looking for ways to be more efficient and tighten our belt where possible without having a significant impact on our educational programs,” Superintendent Corliss Kaiser said. “We have heard clearly from our residents that they want our programs and services maintained, and so we have looked for ways to reduce our expenses while still providing the depth and breadth of educational programs and services our community expects.”

Under the proposed 2013-14 spending plan, supply budgets would again be reduced, debt service payments are expected to be lower due to the payoff of old debt and health care costs are expected to remain neutral due to negotiated changes in prescription co- payments.

Reductions and cost-saving measures in previous budgets included reducing staff primarily through attrition, cutting supply budgets district wide and reducing transportation from five days to four for after-school activities.

The largest 2013-14 budget increase would be in the district’s state mandated contribution to teacher and employee pensions, which is slated to increase a total of nearly $1.9 million – or 43 percent – compared to the current year. The district has no control over that figure, said Michael Vespi, assistant superintendent for business services.

The district has two main sources of funding – state aid and the tax levy, which is the amount of revenue a school district collects through local property taxes. Other smaller sources of revenue include county sales tax revenue and payment in lieu of tax agreements.

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