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General Brown BOE adopts revised 2013-14 budget

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DEXTER — The pressure is on.

If General Brown Central School District voters don’t approve the Board of Education’s revised 2013-14 spending plan June 18, an additional $343,505 in cuts will have to be made as part of a contingency budget.

The revised 2013-14 spending plan of $20,968,134 comes with an increase to the tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, of 5.4 percent. The revised levy is $6,728,359, and the revised 2013-14 budget is only $138,723 less than the 2012-13 budget of $20,829,411. The board adopted the revised budget, 4-0, during a special meeting Wednesday at the junior-senior high school, 17643 Cemetery Road.

Board member Daniel J. Dupee II was absent from the vote, as he was late. Board member Michael E. Kucharski was absent from the meeting.

Since the tax levy increase was at the district’s cap, a simple majority of voters is needed to approve the budget. A budget hearing will take place at 6 p.m. June 5 in the cafeteria of the junior-senior high school, and the budget vote will take place from noon to 9 p.m. June 18.

The board met Wednesday to discuss a revised budget, as voters defeated its 2013-14 budget of $21,096,729 on May 21. That budget gained an 806-580 plurality but fell 26 votes short of the 832 it would have needed to gain a necessary 60 percent approval. That percentage was required then because the board-approved levy increase at the time was 9.9 percent, which was greater than the district’s tax cap.

While all original cuts — totaling nearly $1 million — from the board’s defeated 2013-14 plan are still intact, the board reduced a special education teaching position in the junior-senior high school to half time. The board also reduced an elementary instrumental music position to half time, which equaled a full cut since that position was already reduced to half time in the 2012-13 spending plan.

District Treasurer Lisa K. Smith said that cut now means there will be no band at the elementary level. The half-time position was shared between Brownville-Glen Park and Dexter elementary schools.

Mrs. Smith said other cost savings were realized through a late retirement, and instructional staff members agreeing to a reduction in their pay raise increase.

She said if the revised spending plan is voted down, the district will automatically have a contingency budget. That means there will be an additional $343,505 in cuts, as a contingency budget must have the same tax levy as the current budget.

Regardless of what plan is final, Mrs. Smith said specific tax rates will be set in late summer.

Board members received a pleasant surprise shortly before the Wednesday meeting, as outgoing General Brown Central School District Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. was informed that state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, secured an extra $160,000 in state funding toward the purchase of buses.

“It provided a lot of relief, so that was welcome,” said Tasha L. Richards, board president. “Our meeting was definitely easier than we thought.”

Mr. Vigliotti said district administrators recommended the board use the extra $160,000 for buses and any surplus be used to restore elementary teaching positions. That recommendation was made, he said, to maintain smaller elementary class sizes. The board agreed.

Meanwhile, a group of community members will print a budget brochure to hand out to district residents during General Brown Days, which will be held throughout Brownville Friday to Sunday.

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