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Board approves proposed 2017-18 budget

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April 4, 2017: The Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education approved a proposed 2017-18 budget that is under the district’s tax levy limit and restrains spending to a 1.39 percent increase.

“This budget allows us to maintain our existing programs and services and enhance students’ health and safety while in our care,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.

On April 3, the board of education held a public hearing and approved the proposed $80,728,938 million budget that increases spending $1,109,197, or 1.39 percent, compared to the 2016-17 school year. It carries a tax levy increase of 1.96 percent, or $1,145,787. The district’s tax levy limit increase, or “cap,” is projected at 1.97 percent. 

District residents will have an opportunity to vote on F-M’s budget proposal 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 16, 2017, at Fayetteville Elementary School.

If the district were to propose a tax levy increase greater than its cap, a supermajority of voters - 60 percent + 1 – rather than a majority vote would be required for budget authorization.

The tax levy is the amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. It is one of two primary revenue sources for the district. The other is state aid.

While the state aid figures released by the state budget office show that F-M’s Foundation Aid, which is the district’s base operating aid from the state, would increase in 2017-18 by $167,194 under the governor’s proposal, the district would actually receive $35,440 less in total state aid when comparing F-M’s current actual 2016-17 state aid budget, $19,155,078, to the estimated 2017-18 aid outlined in the executive budget, $19,119,638.

F-M is not receiving the amount of state aid that it should based on the outcome of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, said Michael Vespi, F-M’s assistant superintendent for business services. The state should be allocating $13,576,843 to the district, instead of the $9,292,848 proposed by the governor, he said.

“By not fully funding state aid, the state has progressively shifted the burden of funding the schools to the local taxpayer,” Mr. Vespi said.

State aid is projected to support 24 percent of F-M’s total $80,711,095 proposed 2017-18 budget while the tax levy is proposed to fund 74 percent. The remaining 2 percent is projected to come from sources such as county sales tax and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements.

The administration is proposing to use $725,000 of fund balance as revenue to offset its 2017-18 projected expenses and is recommending the following cost containments that would keep the budget from increasing by an additional $1,104,231:

  • $489,231: technology staff changes;
  • $300,000 salaries: retirement breakage, attrition, reductions;
  • $250,000: reduction in employee benefit rates; and
  • $65,000 utilities: reduced gas and electric costs due to lower rates.

The district is proposing to add an additional school resource information officer (it currently has one), which would cost $90,000, and convert a part-time school nurse position to full time, which would be an additional $17,000. When not providing health office coverage in one of the elementary or middle schools, the expanded full-time position would provide additional staffing at F-M High School, which has about 1,445 students enrolled. 

“These are two positions we have considered adding for several years because they directly benefit student safety,” Dr. Tice said. “With the reductions proposed in other areas of the budget, we felt the time was finally right to move forward and include them in the proposed budget.”

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