F-M voters approve $78.9 million budget; elect three board members

On May 19, Fayetteville-Manlius School District voters approved the district’s $78.9 million 2015-16 budget proposal, elected three board of education members and approved a $553,318 vehicle purchase proposition and a $2.6 million facilities project at Fayetteville Elementary School.  

The following results are unofficial pending verification of the absentee ballots; however, the ballots have been reviewed and will not impact the final results.

Voters approved:

·         A $78,917,391 budget for the 2015-16 school year that increases spending 1.29 percent ($1,004,467) and carries a 1.89 percent tax levy increase: 1,720 yes; 565 no;

·         A $2,569,262 facilities project that will replace the failing roof at Fayetteville Elementary School: 1,912 yes; 356 no;

·         Purchasing four new school buses and two Chevrolet Suburbans for student transportation at a total cost not to exceed $553,318: 1,604 yes; 653 no;

·         Supporting the Fayetteville Free Library, $1,689,230: 1,479 yes; 770 no; and

·         Supporting The Manlius Library, $1,239,182: 1,532 yes; 727 no.

Six candidates sought election to three open board of education seats. The three candidates with the greatest number of votes will each serve a three-year term beginning July 1.

 Incumbent Marissa Joy Mims: 1,359 votes

 Incumbent Lisa Lukasiewicz Izant: 1,375 votes;

John J. Cucinotta: 1,366 votes;    

Barbara Huntress Tresness: 788 votes;       

Patty Palladino: 819 votes; and

Incumbent Rebecca Shiroff: 615 votes.


I’d like to thank the voters of Fayetteville-Manlius for taking the time to exercise their right to vote,” said Superintendent Corliss Kaiser. “This budget provides the resources and support for our students, faculty and staff to continue fulfilling our district mission of providing all students with an excellent education.”


The 2015-16 tax levy increase of 1.89 percent is below the district’s calculated tax levy limit of 2.03 percent, per the state’s property tax levy cap law. The limit does not cap how much a district can raise through property taxes. Instead, it determines at what level a school district must have a supermajority (60 percent) rather than a simple majority (50 percent plus one) approve the budget proposal.

Because F-M proposed a budget with a tax levy increase lower than its allowable limit, the budget required a simple majority vote for authorization.

The Fayetteville Elementary School capital project will replace the building’s 19-year-old roof that has deteriorated to the point that it is allowing water to seep inside and cause interior damage. The project is not expected to increase local property taxes because it will be paid for through state aid and the district’s capital reserve fund. 

2015-16 Budget at-a-glance

2015-16 budget: $78,917,391

Budget increase: $1,004,467 (1.29%)

School tax levy: $57,258,897

Estimated school tax levy increase: $1,064,135 (1.89%)


Voters also decided upon:

Fayetteville Free Library budget proposition: $1,689,230
Manlius Library budget proposition: $1,239,182 

F-M adopts budget proposal that maintains programs and services

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s 2015-16 budget proposal includes no major cuts to existing programs and services, increases spending on classroom supplies and equipment for the first time in eight years and is below the district’s tax levy limit, or cap. 

“We have consistently reduced our spending on supplies and materials in recent years, but those decreases will begin impacting the classroom – and our students. Our mission is to provide excellence in education to all students, and while we need the tools to do so, we also recognize we need to be responsible to our taxpayers, who have their own budgets to balance,” Superintendent Corliss Kaiser said.  

The district’s $78,917,391 budget proposal includes a spending increase of $1,064,135, or 1.29 percent, and a tax levy increase of $1,064,135, or 1.89 percent. The board adopted the proposal April 13. District residents will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed budget from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday, May 19. 

Revenue to fund the district’s operating budget comes from two primary sources: state aid and the local tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district will collect from local property owners to support the school budget. The 2015-16 state budget allocates about $18.7 million in total state aid to F-M, which is an increase of $796,566 compared to the current year. 

The proposed 1.89 percent tax levy increase is less than what the district projected in a February budget draft, which was based on state aid estimates. With final state aid information now available, the district is proposing to use more state aid to lower the tax levy increase to the 1.89 percent level, which is below the district’s maximum allowable tax levy increase of 2.03 percent, according to the state’s Property Tax Levy Cap Law.

The district is also proposing to use $725,000 from its fund balance as revenue to offset any further increase in the tax levy. The district is actively trying to reduce its dependence on appropriating fund balance to balance the budget, which is not a sustainable method of budget development, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi said. 

In 2014-15, the district budgeted $1.45 million from fund balance as revenue to balance the budget. 

“It would be irresponsible for the district to rely on using appropriated fund balance to balance the budget because it’s not a reoccurring revenue source,” Mr. Vespi said.

Despite the fact there is no state deficit in 2015-16, the state is continuing to use the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, a mechanism the state implemented in 2010 to take back a portion of a school district’s base aid to help offset the state’s budget deficit. F-M will lose to the GEA about $1.5 million in promised 2015-16 state aid. 

More budget information is available through the links on the left side of this page, under the "School Budget" section. 

Some content courtesy of Capital Region BOCES School Communications Portfolio; Copyright 2015; All rights reserved. For more information or permission to use, call 518-464-3960.

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