Dunkirk School board given budget update

Dunkirk Business Administrator William Thiel presented several updates on the school district budget at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The board had only expected Thiel to present on the BOCES budget, but Thiel had more numbers for the board to consider in the areas of benefits and state aid.

He said the BOCES budget for the 2012-13 school year was $3,136,518, however due to students with more needs than was budgeted for, the district is running $285,153 over budget due to additional students with special education needs moving into the district.

He proposed a $386,201 decrease in BOCES services because of a reduction of 20 alternative education slots at $16,873 each and 13 career and technology education slots at $8,060 each. He explained the changes are because the district is trying to bring the special education program back in-house and the career program is based on average enrollment.

He said the only numbers that are not firm in the budget at the time of the meeting were the amount of savings from the retirement incentive. The deadline for the retirement incentive is Friday.

The board approved the retirement of nine CSEA workers; Jean Bennett, clerk; Gloria Echevarria, typist; Mary Ann Katta, teacher aide; Mary Knapp, typist; Madylon Kubera, library aide; Beverly Marquardt, payroll clerk; Cynthia Maslakowski, home school community assistant; and Dennis Vanderlee, head custodian.

“We have the CSEA portions, there still could be more the deadline is Friday the 15th. There should be some more and we are waiting on more teachers so (the board) will act next month on the teachers,” Super-intendent Gary Cerne said.

“Because the CSEA met their minimum number with the nine. There are a lot of dedicated people there and a lot of years of service and people we are going to miss but I am happy for them to be able to retire,” Cerne added.

Thiel estimated a savings of $206,840 in benefits from the incentive and a savings of $689,468 in payroll.

He said this projection changed the expected increase in expenditures from 5.89 percent to 1.86 percent after debt service.

Thiel also presented on state aid and the tax levy cap.

He said the district expects a 2.71 percent increase in state aid, however when comparing the amount to 2010-11’s state aid the district is operating with $90,464 less.

“The state is asking us to do more with less,” he said.

He also showed the board the calculation for the tax cap for the district. This included taking the 2012-13 levy adding adjustments, carryover and exclusions and the district, according to the formula could raise the levy by $10.6 million or 10 percent.

Board President Kenneth Kozlowski said although the board could raise the levy 10 percent, it does not intend to do so.

“I want to stress that the board is dedicated to come out at a zero tax increase again. I know Mr. Thiel said we can go up to 10 (percent) but I don’t want that to hit the newspaper that we can go up to 10 and that’s what we’re planning on doing because … we are dedicated to coming out at a zero percent tax increase again,” he said.

The next board of education meeting will be held March 14.