Dundee adopts 2.8 percent school tax levy
DUNDEE—The Dundee Central School Board adopted their 2013-14 budget containing a 2.8 percent tax levy increase during their meeting Thursday, April 11. The total $15,069,549 budget is up $656,404 from the previous budget, an increase of 4.6 percent. There will be a public hearing on the adopted budget Tuesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in the public meeting room and will be voted on by the community Tuesday, May 14 from noon to 8 p.m. in the public meeting room.
According to the 2013-14 spending plan provided by School Business Official Melissa Lawson, $1,025,573 in the district’s reserve funds will be applied to the budget. Without the use of the reserves, the tax levy increase would amount to a 25.5 percent increase.
Lawson said the district had received an additional $110,000 in state aid, but it is still subject to gap elimination adjustment. She said the state uses it to appear to give schools additional state aid and then turn around and take it away from them as a way to help plug their budget hole.
Also being voted on is the creation of a new capital reserve fund totaling $2 million for an estimated life of 10 years which will be used for the purchasing of school buses. Lawson said new buses cost $225,000 for two new buses, and having this reserve in place will give the district the ability for long-range planning as well as keep the district from having to go back for a vote so frequently. Residents will also be voting on a contract for educational services with the Dundee Library for $57,849.
During the meeting, President James Koehler said other than cutting modified wrestling, there would be no other reductions in classes or sports programs. Modified Wrestling Coach Kenny Empson asked the board members not to cut the modified wrestling program, saying the two years off in between youth and varsity wrestling could have a big impact on student athletes. The board initially had cut modified wrestling due to the number of students participating and the recommendation of the athletic director. Superintendent Kathy Ring said eight athletes compete at that level on average per year, but Empson said with five more coming up there was the potential to have 11 kids at the modified level. After some deliberation, the board agreed to put the $7,800 in funding back into the budget for the modified wrestling program.
The budget also includes the migration of certain special education students from an out-of-district placement to a district operated program, saving approximately $192,000.
Other increases to the budget include the following:
• A $427,196 increase in fringe benefits, up 12.5 percent.
• A $39,061 increase in employee retirement system cost (ERS), up 12 percent.
• A $190,640 increase in teacher’s retirement system (TRS), up 31.3 percent.
• A $181,975 increase in employer cost for medical and dental insurance, up 9.7 percent.
• A $238,321 increase in debt service requirements, up 16.6 percent.
• A $58,415 increase in psychological services, up 73.7 percent.
• The $42,342 addition of a special education position.
• A $46,712 increase in transportation costs, up 5 percent.
• A $758,388 increase in reserves used to offset the tax levy increase, up 283.8 percent.
In other business:
• Resident Bob Ford spoke during the public comment section of the meeting against the library appropriation in the budget, saying the money could be better used within the school district to reinstate programs like sports and extra curricular activities. Koehler said that was a separate tax and not part of the school’s annual budget, but is collected through the school district.