Press-Republican

Wednesday

May 14, 2014

ELCS budget within state cap

(Continued)

ELCS is projected to have fewer students with disabilities next year, resulting in decreased costs for programs and services. As a result, the district is reducing a special-education teacher position, a teaching-assistant position and a teacher-aide position.

NOT KEEPING PACE

“We’re projected to see $223,334 more in state aid next year, but that figure doesn’t keep pace with our mandated costs and the cost to provide a well-rounded experience for students,” Osborne said.

“Overall New York state aid to Elizabethtown-Lewis Central is down 8 percent since the 2008-09 school year.

“The proposed budget’s 3.21 percent increase is directly related to rising costs of doing business. We’re doing business smarter and more efficiently so we can thoughtfully respond to the increases now, while budgeting with the future in mind.”

ELCS will use more than $500,000 from the fund balance.

“This is not a sustainable practice,” Osborne warned.

“ELCS is heavily dependent on state aid and the tax levy to fund our school’s budget. When state aid is in overall decline and property-tax levies are capped, our only option is to examine how we structurally fund education here.

“We’re now operating in a ‘new normal,’ as the financial challenges for public schools aren’t going away,” the superintendent said. “Every short-term decision to conserve our resources is a move to maintain our long-term position to meet future challenges.”

He noted that in the past year and a half, the community has supported bus propositions, a building project and the annual budget.

“The board is appreciative of that support for our school,” Osborne said.

ON THE BALLOT The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School budget vote is noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, in the main lobby. Residents will vote on: • Authorizing creation of a Capital Improvement Reserve Fund and a Transportation and Maintenance Equipment Reserve Fund. Both would have a term of 10 years with set maximum amounts for each fund. Annually, a portion of any remaining balances would fund these reserves. Voter authorization is required to establish these reserve funds and also to use funds from the reserves. • School Board candidates for two open seats. Darlene Hooper is running for the expired three-year term held by Karen Hooper. Douglas Spilling is running for the expired three-year term of Alan Jones. • A non-binding poll on whether to establish an exemption for veterans. More information on the budget is available on the district website: www.elcsd.org

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