Press-Republican

May 29, 2014

Minerva Central plans budget re-vote

By LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — MINERVA — The defeated Minerva Central School budget is going up a second time unchanged, with the hope more voters will turn out and push it through.

The $5.07 million spending plan, which exceeds the district’s state tax-levy cap and needed a 60 percent majority to pass, went down by 14 votes on May 20.  

With a total 323 votes cast, it would have required 193 for the budget to gain approval.

The tally was 181 yes to 142 no, which gave an OK of only 56 percent. 

The revote is set for 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, in the school lobby.

The total spending package is up just 2.46 percent, but decreases in state aid pushed the tax-levy increase to 13.5 percent.

DOOR TO DOOR

A group of parents is going door to door in Minerva, urging residents to get out and vote on the budget in the hopes of getting the 60 percent supermajority next time to pass the plan.

The budget carries a 13.5 percent increase in the tax levy of $3.75 million, way over the school’s state-cap formula amount of 2.46 percent.

If the vote fails a second time, the district must go to a contingency budget, which would require $446,000 in cuts.

Superintendent Timothy Farrell said sports, after-school activities and transportation could be reduced, some full-time positions might be cut to part-time, and elementary grades could be merged to reduce staff.

The cuts would negatively impact Minerva’s academic excellence, Farrell said, but there aren’t many places left in the district’s spending plan that could be reduced.

‘NEEDS COMMUNITY HELP’

In a statement to the community, Farrell said that to reduce the levy, the district has already cut $128,000 in expenses, used $20,000 of reserves to offset the increase in the employee retirement contribution and assigned $50,000 of its fund balance.

“The school has reduced expenses by cutting staff and program costs for several years,” he said.

“Many of the cuts that we have been forced to make have had negative effects on our school program. We simply cannot cut anymore and continue to provide a quality pre-K-12 educational program to our students.

“The school needs the community’s help.”

Minerva has 126 students in grades pre-K through 12.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

$5.07M School's proposed spending plan for next year