Cazenovia Board of Education adopts 2013-14 budget proposal

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On April 22, the Cazenovia Board of Education adopted a $26,419,662 budget proposal for 2013-14 that increases spending 3.39 percent and carries a 4.94 percent property tax levy increase.

The fiscal plan maintains the district’s current academic program, while achieving cost savings through retirements, energy-saving measures and cuts in discretionary spending on equipment. The proposed 2013-14 budget also recognizes Cazenovia’s steep decline in student enrollment over the past decade by eliminating four full-time positions. “Although many cost increases are beyond the district’s control, the Board of Education looked for ways to cut spending without jeopardizing the integrity of Cazenovia’s academic program,” Superintendent of Schools Robert Dubik said. “This budget also adjusts our staffing levels to reflect the decreasing student population we’ve seen in our schools over the past several years.” Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 7.33.57 PMThe proposed budget calls for the elimination of two teaching positions in the middle school, one custodial position and one high school guidance counselor position. Residents on May 21 also will elect two members to the Board of Education. Throughout the 2013-14 budget development process, the district sought feedback from residents – through budget forums and Board meetings – about how best to balance the costs and benefits of a well-rounded Cazenovia education. As budget planning got under way in January, Cazenovia faced a projected budget shortfall of about $800,000, in part due to a $1.2 million projected increase in expenses. That increase included a $615,000 jump in teacher and employee retirement costs and a $249,000 hike in special education costs, due to an influx of new students and placements. But the district eventually was able to close the gap to approximately $278,000, thanks to a $343,000 increase in state aid; cuts in energy costs ($90,000) through cooperative purchasing and energy-saving measures; reductions in planned equipment purchases ($92,000); staff retirements ($135,000); the streamlining of some sports teams, which includes eliminating junior varsity softball, cutting two assistant boys’ lacrosse coaches and combining Grades 7 and 8 modified basketball teams); and an increase in the use of fund balance reserves. The proposed staffing reductions would close the gap to zero. The district will pay for its expenses, which once again increased most in the area of employee pensions, in part with a proposed tax levy of $16,687,422, which is an increase of $784,800 or 4.93 percent over 2012-13. (The levy is the total amount of revenue raised through local property taxes.) The proposed budget also includes about $8.21 million in state aid, and the use of about $1.1 million in fund balance.

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