State-mandated expenses biggest cost drivers for 2013-14 budget

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Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 11.09.53 PM(The second article in a continuing series about the 2013-14 budget.) As Cazenovia Central School District administrators begin to navigate the 2013-14 budget development process, they already can point to several areas that will bring significant cost increases. Of the projected $1.2 million increase in expenses, the most significant jump will be in teacher and employee retirement system costs: $622,000. (To put that figure in perspective, consider a 2 percent tax levy increase in Cazenovia would be about $320,000, and the governor’s proposed state aid increase is slightly less than $211,000.) Other increased expenses expected next year include:
  • Salaries – up by $250,000.
  • Health insurance contributions – increasing by $120,000 (a 3 percent premium increase).
  • Special education costs (due to an influx of new students and placements) – up $205,000.
  • Expanded ESL services, to accommodate the arrival of several new students who speak English as a Second Language (ESL).
“Escalating costs are eventually going to have an impact on the programs we’re able to offer to Cazenovia’s students – maybe as soon as next year,” said Superintendent Robert Dubik. Cazenovia administrators do expect some cost relief – from retirements, scaled-back equipment purchases and reduced utility costs stemming from energy-saving measures already in place. But the district still anticipates overall costs will go up by $1.2 million, while revenues increase by only $600,000, leaving a gap of about $600,000 for the district to somehow close. “We will be looking at each and every line item to see where we can reduce costs,” Assistant Superintendent William Furlong said. “However, based on current projections, we will have a $600,000 budget gap to contend with.”

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