Final school district budget ready to go to voters

— The Skaneateles Board of Education held its final district budget review and public information session at its May 1 meeting, giving local residents one final chance to question or comment on the budget before it goes to public vote on Tuesday, May 15.

The final Skaneateles CSD 2012-13 budget is $29.1 million, which is a 0.41 percent increase from last year, and includes no major staffing or program cuts. It includes a 2.5 percent tax levy increase, which for the town of Skaneateles equals a tax rate of $14.07 per $1,000.

This year’s budget was “a team effort that represents three years of hard work” by district administrators, BOE members and school principals, said BOE President Evan Dreyfuss. “The main goal of this board has always been to provide as much as we can at the right price.”

Dreyfuss and Skaneateles CSD Superintendent Phil D’Angelo gave a presentation on the history of the 2012-13 budget process including the challenges the district faced by the new state tax levy limits and the loss of state and federal financial aid. They detailed the various budget increases and decreases in staffing, programs and other expenses that led ultimately to the final budget proposal.

This presentation is available on the district website, at skanschools.org, under the “2012-13 budget info” tab.

Only six people attended the budget information session, which D’Angelo said was surprising since the previous two years each had about 100 audience members. But he hoped and assumed the small public turnout was a result of the board’s increasingly open budget proceedings and availability of budget information on the district’s website. “I hope people know what we’ve done and I hope it’s a stamp of approval,” D’Angelo said.

The public vote on the district’s budget, will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, with voting at Waterman Elementary auditorium. Also on the ballot is a proposition to authorize the purchase two school buses not to exceed $265,000. The actual cost to taxpayers, however, is estimated at $159,000 after the use of state transportation aid funding.

May 15 is also election day for three, three-year seats on the board of education. Board President Evan Dreyfuss is running for reelection; board members Kate Coggswell and Michael Card are retiring.

Also running for BOE seats are Susan Greenfield Murphy, Susan Benjamin and Jeremy Dodds.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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