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School presents budget with cuts

DUNDEE--The Board of Education of Dundee Central School approved the 2017-2018 proposed school budget in the amount $18,065,017 at its March 9 meeting. The budget will be submitted to the voters of the district at the annual district vote and election May 16.
Dundee Central School District Business Manager Melissa Lawson called budgeting a "balancing act" and presented data that demonstrated the new budget figure is 2.19 percent lower than last year. She pointed out that declining student enrollment and no increase in state aid or local taxes resulted in the need to cut administrative, instructional and support positions.
School Superintendent Kelly Houck said creating the budget was a difficult process involving months of "grueling preparation" including a lot of data and consultation with different people. She stated, "It just didn't happen quickly," and "it is as financially responsible as we can get at this time." The budget includes $1,051,184 of identified or enacted budget changes and savings for the coming year.
The staffing reductions incorporated into the proposed plan include a 10 percent reduction in instructional positions. Four positions will be cut, three open positions will not be filled and one open position will be filled by an assistant. Administrative positions at the district level will be cut by 50 percent by eliminating the director of special programs and the district curriculum coordinator. Support position costs will be reduced by cutting six teacher's aids and one cleaning person.
The board voted to reduce transportation costs by eliminating two transportation members and by presenting a proposition to the voters May 16 that would authorize discontinuing transportation for students residing less than .6 miles from the school. The budget includes $485,176 for the purchase of buses from the district's 2013 bus purchase reserve fund.
Board President James Koehler said, "Our biggest goal is to do what is best for the student. Students are first." He pointed out the school budgeting process is "democratic" because Dundee residents have the opportunity to vote on it.
In other business, the 2015-2016 Extra Classroom Activity Fund Financial Report prepared by Raymond F. Wager, CPA, PC was presented to the board. Wager said, "It was not an easy audit" because not all school fundraising activities were tracked carefully with profit and loss statements. He said it was difficult to verify inventory and to match incoming funds, expected funds and deposits.
Wager said he did not look into activities not in compliance with the New York state education department guidelines. He urged students and advisors to always prepare profit and loss statements for all fund-raising activities. He also urged them to carefully control inventory. He said, "If we can't identify the issues, we can't track down the problems."

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