Cazenovia Board of Education adopts 2014-15 budget proposal

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The Cazenovia Board of Education voted April 14 to adopt a $26,495,954 budget proposal for 2014-15 that increases spending 0.29 percent and carries a property tax increase of $168,237, or 1.01 percent. The fiscal plan includes the elimination of 9.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, including two cleaners, one bus mechanic, three elementary teachers, one high school career technical education teacher, one teaching assistant, one monitor and one 0.4 FTE guidance/psychologist position. It also cuts some services contracted through the Board of Educational Cooperative Services and eliminates a family consumer science elective at the high school. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 13, and district residents will vote on the proposal May 20. “Faced with both dwindling state aid and declining enrollment, administrators and board members had to make the hard decision to reduce staffing levels and eliminate one high school elective in Cazenovia,” Superintendent of Schools Robert Dubik said. “Thanks to some prudent cost-saving measures and the allocation of district reserve funds, however, the proposed budget does maintain nearly all of the outstanding academic program the community has come to expect from Cazenovia.” Residents on May 20 also will elect two members to the Board of Education. Cazenovia will pay for its expenses, which increased most in the area of special education ($170,330 or 9.6 percent), in part with a proposed tax levy of $16,855,459, which is an increase of $168,237 or 1.01 percent over 2013-14. Rather than raise local property taxes above the district’s calculated tax levy limit of 1.01 percent, district administrators and board members are proposing to use $750,000 in reserve funds – about one-quarter of the district’s remaining fund balance – to help fill the gap between projected revenues and expenses in 2014-15. The district has had to dip into its accumulated surplus for the past several years to offset continuing losses in state aid created by the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The GEA was established during the 2009-10 school year to eliminate the state’s budget deficit by taking away promised aid from school districts, and shift a larger burden of education funding to local property taxpayers. Since the GEA was implemented, Cazenovia has lost approximately $5.3 million in state aid.

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