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Odessa school spending up .81 percent

ODESSA-MONTOUR—The Odessa-Montour’s proposed school budget for the 2009-10 school year has a .81 percent spending increase.
The total expenses for the proposed budget are $14,203,785.  The 2008-09 expenses were $14,089,923.  Superintendent Jim Frame explained at the budget hearing, May 5, that the 2008-09 budget had an increase of 1.93 percent over the previous budget.
The estimated district-wide tax increase will be approximately one percent.  Individual school tax bills will vary depending on reassessment, equalization rates and changes in the STAR exemption amount.
Expenditures are broken down into program, administrative, and capital.  Program expenses had an increase; from $9,875,948 to $10,063,634.  These costs are for the educational program, staff salaries and benefits, athletics, transportation and BOCES instructional services.  Some of the biggest changes included an increase in spending of $421,927 for special education, to the proposed $2,219,139.  Employee benefits decreased $330,366, to $2,156,719.
Administrative expenses went up from $1,826,101 to $1,829,115  Frame explained this went down because of a decrease in administration staffing.  He added the new employees hired will also have a lower salary because they are just starting.  Employee benefits also went down in this area, from $365,125 to $305,630.  Greg Dale, business administrator, said the superintendent’s salary in the proposed budget is $126,393.  His benefits are $32,970 which includes health insurance, worker’s compensation, disability insurance, a required contribution to Frame’s retirement fund, and travel reimbursements.
Capital expenses went down $2,387,874 to $2,311,036.  Capital includes the cleaning and maintenance department.  The biggest decrease was again in employee benefits, from $295,786 to $215,355.
The district’s total revenue is up, from $14,089,923 to $14,203,785.  There were increases in money from property taxes, New York state building aid and New York state operating aid.
If the proposed budget is voted down, the contingency budget is $14,653,519.  Frame explained it has a four percent increase in spending over the current budget,
There are a number of other propositions that will be voted on, May 19.  In addition to the budget, voters will decide if the board of education will spend no more than $205,000 to purchase two new school buses.  Voters will also decide on changing the term length board members serve.  Currently, board of education members serve for five years.  In the proposition, the terms would be changed to three years.  However, one seat starting July 10, 2010 would be for a two-year term before reverting back to three years again.  The board has explained this change would result in almost the same number of board members being elected each year.
Voting will take place Tuesday, May 19 from noon to 8 p.m.  For the Odessa-Montour school district, voting will now only take place at Hanlon Elementary School, room 12.

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