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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Addison school board adopts revised budget proposal

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  • After shaving more than a half-percent off the property tax levy, the Addison school board has decided to put another budget proposal for the 2014-15 school year up for a vote on June 17.
    Addison’s initial budget proposal was rejected May 20, falling by nine votes. It was one of the few school budgets in New York to be defeated. More than 98 percent of budgets passed statewide, according to the New York State School Boards Association.
    After the budget failed, Addison had three options: Put the same budget up for a re-vote, put a revised budget up for a vote, or go straight to a contingency budget.
    The Addison school board unanimously approved a revised proposal at Tuesday night’s meeting. The $27,041,385 proposal includes a 1.48 percent tax levy increase, while the budget that was defeated on May 20 had a 2 percent levy increase.
    The levy was trimmed by $36,103, but it won’t mean any staff or program cuts, said Superintendent Joe DioGuardi.
    “We went and took a look at some of our substitute (teacher) costs, we looked at unemployment. We looked at workers’ compensation - we’re moving our workers’ comp program to another carrier,” DioGuardi said. “We also looked at some materials and supplies, and (sending staff to conferences). So it’s not hugely significant.”
    However, if the revised proposal is rejected on June 17, Addison would be forced to adopt a contingency budget with a zero percent increase in the levy, and would have to trim roughly another $350,000.
    That would have a far more significant impact, DioGuardi said.
    The district would likely look at cuts to academic and extracurricular programs. A contingency budget would also affect purchases of school buses, equipment and student supplies, as well as the district’s ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency.
    It would also affect the community, DioGuardi added, because the district would be required under state rules to charge fees to outside groups - such as youth sports and afterschool programs - that used school facilities.
    “In a small town, we’re the hub of activity,” DioGuardi said. “We have many different organizations, not just athletics, that use our facilities after-hours. So that’s going to be a real impact.”
    The school board will hold a budget presentation and public hearing at 6 p.m. June 4 in the Addison High School cafeteria.
    The polls will be open from noon-8 p.m. on June 17 in the Addison High School library - not the gymnasium, which is the usual polling location.
    The budget is well under Addison’s limit under the state tax cap formula, so it will need a simple majority to pass.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We just want people to come out and vote,” DioGuardi said. “We want them to listen and get as much information as they can on what we’re trying to do, to educate themselves on what the contingency budget looks like.”

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