WELLSVILLE — Despite the Wellsville Central School District’s proposal to increase spending for the 2015-16 school year, the district’s taxpayers will not have to shell out any additional funds, according to district administrators.
During the board of education session held earlier this week, members adopted a $28.3 million budget — a $456,366 or 1.6 percent, increase from the current spending plan — which carries no tax rate or tax levy increase, said Director of Finance and Operations David Foster.
Taxpayers will continue to pay an average of $22.71 per $1,000 assessed value as long as the home assessments didn’t change drastically from the current year, he said.
The tax levy — $8.38 million — will also remain the same as the current year’s, Foster said, noting the district was able to keep the tax levy the same because of an $548,241 increase in state aid.
“This is good news, we hope,” he said, noting the district could have presented a 4 percent tax levy increase under the state tax cap restrictions.
Though the district was able to maintain its current tax rate and tax levy, little could be done to avoid a budget increase, Foster said.
“We have contractual salary increases for employees,” he said. “And there is a state-mandated building condition survey that needs to be completed. We have to hire an architect to manage that project.”
The district budgeted $35,000 for the building condition survey, and the state will reimburse the district a little more than 80 percent of that amount next year, Foster said.
A budget increase was also necessary to cover the costs of materials, supplies and professional development, the financial official said, adding the professional development portion of the budget is no longer funded by government grants.
District residents will have the opportunity to vote on the district’s proposed spending plan May 19.
DURING THE VOTE, citizens will also decide on three propositions.
The first proposition asks voters to approve the purchase of two 77-passenger buses at a cost not to exceed $230,000, the second proposal seeks approval to provide $6,384 more in funding to the David A. Howe Public Library and the third proposition calls for a school board reduction from nine to seven members.
“Compared to larger school districts, we have one of the largest school boards in the area” Foster said. “You go up to Buffalo where there are larger school districts, and we’re seeing five-member boards. We think seven members will be just as effective as nine.”
Downsizing the board will not result in a cost savings for the district, as those are unpaid positions, Foster said.
(Contact reporter Darlene M. Donohue at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @DarleneMDono)