Silver Creek Central School Board discusses aid

SILVER CREEK – Increased state aid proposed in the New York State Senate’s budget was a welcome surprise at the recent Silver Creek Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich said the district had originally budgeted a $149,749 increase in state aid based on BOCES projections.

“BOCES is usually dead on with their projections,” he said.

He said the Senate-approved budget came in with a $482,771 increase, a difference of $216,588.

Ljiljanich explained what the board must decide now is whether to use the increase to offset the amount of reserves the district is using, or to offset the tax rate.

The district was planning to use $1.7 million in reserves in the 2013-14 budget, a $400,000 increase. A $203,975 increase in the tax levy, or 3.7 percent, is also proposed. This increase is under the district’s calculated tax levy limit including carryover and exclusions of 6.7 percent.

“We can use this to offset reserves but we also can’t put a tax rate out there that people can’t pay,” Board President Martha Howard pointed out.

Ljiljanich said although the district has made a five-year budget plan and a 10-year reserve plan, the reserve plan still has several “cliffs” where $60,000 in programs will have to be cut. He said he recommends when the district receives increased state aid, that it use that to offset those cliffs. However, the decision is up to the board.

The district held its first official budget hearing, but numbers in the presentation had not changed because the district only heard about its increased state aid earlier that day.

Ljiljanich also reported on some new safety measures in place at the school. He said the school has issued identification cards to all staff and contractors for the capital project who are expected to have some kind of identification. He said teachers are also asked to keep their doors locked, even if the door is open, so that it can be quickly locked in case of an emergency.

The next meeting will be held April 10 at 7 p.m. with a workshop on the district’s updated state aid at 6 p.m.