Pine Valley board holds budget hearing

SOUTH DAYTON – Residents in the Pine Valley School District will see a tax increase next year. The proposed budget would increase spending 5.33 percent, raising the 2013-14 total of $15,019,537 to $15,819,650 in the 2014-2015 budget year.

The proposed budget total of $15,819,650 includes a tax levy of $3,292,848, a $56,768 increase over last year. The tax levy is within the tax cap of a 1.75 percent increase. One of the problems facing the school district for the upcoming year, is a lack of revenue.

“This year when we developed the budget we knew one thing, we haven’t really been overspending, but we’ve had a revenue problem. For the past few years, the state has been taking money away from us but we’ve managed and we have maintained the programs Pine Valley is known for,” Superintendent Pete Morgante said.

Business Administrator Deanna Schettine said the proposed budget includes over $1 million in appropriated fund balance to help balance the budget. This is due to lack of state aid from New York state, including foundation aid and the gap elimination adjustment.

The district does have a five-year plan to decrease the amount of appropriated fund balance utilized each budget year. Schettine also said cost drivers in the proposed budget include more than a 3 percent increase in health insurance, an increase in the teacher retirement service, collective bargaining obligations and unfunded mandates.

Included in the proposed budget are staff reductions eliminating a bus garage secretary and staff development days for teacher aides. Morgante said reductions were made with students in mind that would have the “least impact on the students’ educational experiences.”

When voters take to the polls on May 20, district residents will also vote for a proposition on a vehicle purchase. The proposition is to purchase three buses at a price not to exceed $275,048. Residents will also vote on five open seats on the board of education. The eight candidates vying for the open seats are Rex Butcher, Jeffrey Chase, Angelo Graziano, Patricia Krenzer, Michael Pease, Stephen Raiport, Montgomery Sticek and Matthew Waag.

Chase, Krenzer, Pease and Waag are all currently serving on the board. The candidates who receive the four highest number of votes will be elected to a three-year term; the candidate who receives the fifth most number of votes will be elected to fill a two-year term due to the resignation of Jo Ann Anderson.

Polls are open on May 20 from 12 to 9 p.m., in the Jr./Sr. High School foyer across from the auditorium.

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