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Dundee board approves $14.4M budget

    DUNDEE—A budget of $14,413,145 has been adopted for the 2012-13 academic year by the school board during the regular meeting on Wednesday, April 4.  
    A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1 at 7 p.m.  Voting on the spending plan will occur Tuesday, May 15 from noon until 8 p.m., which is also when school board elections will take place.  Both the hearing and voting will take place in the DCS public meeting room.
    The budget for the current school year is $13,831,863.  In comparison, the proposed spending plan for 2012-13 indicates an increase of $581,282 or 4.2 percent.  Appropriations for district finances are divided into four categories: mandated costs (school board, central administration, benefits, and debt service); mandated core programs (academics and teaching staff); non-mandatory programs (extracurricular activities); and health, safety, and nutrition (maintenance, food, medicine, and transportation).
    Compared with 2011-12, mandated costs will rise by $612,969 (12.7 percent) for next year; mandated core programs will go up by $5,327 (.1 percent); non-mandatory programs will increase by $7,142 (2.9 percent); and health, safety, and nutrition will see a decrease of $44,156 (two percent).
    As it was decided during the previous meeting, the adopted budget for the upcoming school year will include a tax levy increase of three percent.  Prior to that decision, the school board had been considering a two percent levy raise (while still looking at a $14,413,145 spending plan).  However, various board members expressed support of raising the tax levy to close the financial gap facing the district, rather than cutting staff or using more reserve funds.  
    Business Manager Melissa Lawson pointed out since thelast meeting, it had been determined DCS would be receiving an additional $117,000 in state aid for next year.  Lawson explained the district got this extra funding after Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to make an adjustment regarding the additional $805 million he is allocating towards education in the 2012-13 state budget.
     Originally, Cuomo intended for one-third of those finances to go towards unrestricted aid while the rest of the money would be used for competitive grants and the GAP elimination adjustment (aid the state takes away from school districts to fulfill other needs).  Yet, the governor recently decided to allow some of the funding originally set aside for grants to be used as general aid.
    School Board President James Koehler noted even with the extra funding from the state, the tax levy increase would still remain at three percent.  He added the additional money would counterbalance some of the reserves which the district initially planned to use.  “In our discussion (during the last meeting) we talked about three percent (tax raise) and decided that any other state aid would offset reserves,” he stated.


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