RUSSELL - Residents in the Edwards-Knox Central School District will vote this month on a $12.9 million proposed 2013-14 budget that increases the tax levy by 4 percent.
Theyll also fill two school board seats and vote on a proposition to spend to up to $320,000 to purchase three full-sized buses.
The proposed spending plan was adopted by a 6-3 vote at the boards April 22 meeting with no votes cast by board President Theresa A. Hogle, Rick Brewer and Amanda Fuller. Voting for the budget were Christopher Averill, Lyn Coller, Reginald LaPoint, Tom OBrien, Joseph Thomas and Randy VanBrocklin.
A budget public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 14 in the cafeteria.
Mrs. Hogle said she voted against the budget because shes concerned it uses up too much of the districts fund balance and she would have preferred to see the board identify more spending cuts.
Im concerned about how much fund balance we used and how that will effect us in the future, she said. I think we will probably have to make more cuts next year. In the end the board came to a consensus to adopt the budget. Now its up to the voters to decide.
During budget deliberations, the board decided to allocate $614,849 from the fund balance rather than make deep spending cuts such as eliminating additional teaching positions. Four teaching jobs are expected to be cut through retirements, including two teachers who have been offered an early retirement incentive.
In April, school officials discovered that $581,386 was incorrectly budgeted as revenue when it should have been a budget reduction due to the states gap elimination adjustment.
As a result, Mrs. Hogle believes the board should identify more spending cuts to help counteract the mistake.
The mistake we found really caught us off guard. We had to make a lot of decisions in a hurry, she said.
In this years budget, the district used $740,525 from its fund balance.
The proposed $12,291,868 spending plan is .8 percent lower than this years $12,391,242. However, the amount collected from property taxpayers would increase from $1,746,413 to $1,816,269. The district is slated to receive $9,812,024 in state aid.
Incumbent school board member Mrs. Fuller will face two challengers for her seat. Thomas Whitmarsh and Julie Bullock are running against her.
Mr. OBrien is running unoppossed for his seat. Both open seats carry five-year terms.
Voting is from noon to 8 p.m. May 21 in the auditorium.