2011-12 School Budget

F-M voters overwhelmingly approve $74 million budget; elect Board members

On May 17, 73 percent of the Fayetteville-Manlius School District voters approved the district’s $74 million 2011-12 budget proposal, elected three Board of Education members, and approved three propositions.

Voters approved :

·      A $74,020,753 budget for the 2011-12 school year that keeps spending flat and carries a 1.78 percent tax levy increase: 1,471 yes, 540 no;

·      Purchasing four new 70-passenger school buses at a total cost not to exceed $461,960: 1,280 yes, 603 no;

·      Supporting the Fayetteville Free Library, $1,305,357: 1,393 yes, 574 no

·       Supporting the Manlius Library, $1,048,850: 1,407 yes, 556 no.

Voters also elected three candidates for the three open Board of Education seats:

·        Incumbent and current Board President John Cucinotta: 1,469 votes;

·        Incumbent Michael Masse: 1,455 votes;

·        Jeff Brown: 1,529 votes.

Each will serve three-year terms, beginning July 1. Board member Valerie Clarke did not seek re-election.

“We want to thank all of our community members who came out and voted today,” said Superintendent Corliss Kaiser. “With unprecedented state aid reductions and decreases in other revenue sources, we were forced to make difficult decisions related to the 2011-12 budget. Given the fiscal climate, we feel we made the best choices possible for our students, staff, and taxpayers. We are very grateful that the community approved this proposal, allowing us to move forward educating our students and preparing them for future success.”

For 2011-12, F-M lost nearly $3.2 million in state aid, saw no new federal dollars, and expects to lose $393,253 in sales tax revenue because of Onondaga County’s new sales tax revenue sharing formula.

To offset revenue losses and rising mandated expenses – such as a 71 percent increase in the district’s required Employees’ Retirement System contribution – administrators worked to reduce district spending by $2.6 million.

“We tried to make reductions where they would have the least impact on instruction, which is difficult when every program and service we offer within the district has the ultimate goal of enhancing a student’s experience,” Dr. Kaiser said.

Reductions included eliminating 14.5 staff positions: 6.5 teacher aides/assistants, 5 teachers, 2 custodians, and 1 business office staff person. Other reductions included reducing material and supply purchases, reducing an after school bus run from five days week to four, and eliminating summer school for grades 1-8.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank the voters for approving this budget,” said President Cucinotta. “Our community is the foundation of our district. Community support enables our staff and administration to provide the excellent education our students need to achieve their fullest potential as responsible citizens and members of a global community.”

Looking forward, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi is already projecting revenue losses of about $1.2 million for the 2012-13 school year based on the expectation of no new federal and state aid dollars and a projected loss of about $268,000 in county sales tax revenue.

“The administration and Board made difficult decisions this year, but next year will be even more challenging based on the financial forecast we’ve already established,” Mr. Vespi said. “We will continue to listen to students, staff and community members about what they want from an F-M education and take that into consideration as we look at the best ways in which to deliver the quality of education F-M is known for providing.”

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