Silver Creek board discusses what to do with added aid

SILVER CREEK – With the state legislature adding aid to schools, the Silver Creek Board of Education has a decision to make on whether to offset the tax levy or the use of reserves.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich and Business Administrator presented the budget for the second time without the added aid numbers.

A $22,477,618 total budget has been proposed with a tax levy of $5,817,850. This is an increase of $156,026 or 2.76 percent, which is at the district’s tax cap including exclusions and carryover.

It was proposed that $1,569,436 in fund balance and reserves be used.

The district received $340,160 increase in state aid to offset either its use of the levy or reserves and fund balance in order to balance the budget.

“It is a huge decision every time we decide to use reserves,” Ljiljanich said. “The thing about reserves is you don’t get them back; once you use them, you lose them.”

He recommended the board use a majority of the money to offset the amount of reserves and fund balance put toward the budget.

The board was presented with three scenarios; if none of the additional aid is used toward the levy, if $20,000 is used toward the levy or if $40,000 is used toward the levy.

If the district decided to leave the levy at a 2.76 percent increase the full-value tax rate would increase by 50 cents per thousand assessed value to $18.10.

If the district were to reduce the use of the levy by $20,000, the full-value tax rate would increase by 43 cents per thousand to $18.03. If $40,000 were put toward the levy, the full-value tax rate would be $17.97 per thousand, a 37 cent increase.

The board wanted time to consider its options.

Board President Martha Howard said the decision is not as easy as it sounds if you look to the future.

“We would love to put all of this against the levy,” she said. “But if you use reserves this year you automatically have to come up with that amount next year or raise taxes. It is like the weight of an albatross hanging around your neck.”

The board made no decision but must do so by its next meeting on April 22.

The budget, a bus purchase and the election of two board members is scheduled for May 20 from 1 to 9 p.m.

Ljiljanich said this will be the first year for the district to use the new voting machines for the vote.