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The Dansville Online
  • Keshequa board approves budget

  • Keshequa approved its 2012-13 budget proposal April 18. School officials cut five teaching positions to make expenditures balance.

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  • Keshequa approved its 2012-13 budget proposal April 18. School officials cut five teaching positions to make expenditures balance.
    The $18.5 million budget is 1.69 percent, or about $300,000 more in spending over last year. But this does not give the district quite enough to meet its increased expenses. Like other area schools, Keshequa has been hit with rising costs, particularly in health insurance premiums.
    The district is receiving nearly $12.8 million in state aid for next year, about $110,000 more than was anticipated earlier this budget season.
    To keep within the state-imposed property tax cap (for Keshequa, it is at 2 percent), the board is proposing a 1 percent tax levy increase, which results in $43,674 more to be levied in taxes for the district next year.
    Superintendent Donald Covell explained to the board that the district’s budget will include increased funding from its reserves, but if that trend continues, its reserves will be depleted within a few years.
    In an effort to lessen the burden on taxpayers, the district has kept its budget flat for the past three years.
    “By way of $43,000, we didn’t (keep it flat) this year,” Covell said. “I hope that the public will understand the board’s diligence in maintaining as little impact on the taxpayer as possible. I hope that’s appreciated.”
    Covell went on to say that he hopes the state will be sensitive to the needs of rural school districts in the near future.
    “Our children deserve every bit the same kinds of opportunities that larger schools have,” Covell said, pointing out that Keshequa is not looking to teach Mandarine Chinese to kindergartners as one wealthy New York district has been reported to do, but rather, give Keshequa students, “a good, solid education and an opportunity for our kids to be prepared for the world of work, post-secondary education, whatever it may be.”
    He went on to say that many rural districts may be in danger of shutting down if current state aid formulas continue. However, he said various educational organizations, as well as concerned citizens, have been approaching legislators all across the state, “in an effort to seek better equity for our children in small rural schools.”
    For the past three years, state aid figures have favored wealthier suburban districts with increases, but have imposed cuts or mild increases to rural districts that have a smaller tax base.
    Keshequa’s budget will go to voters May 15. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 in the district board room.
    In addition to the budget, the ballot will contain other propositions:
    • Page 2 of 2 - Whether to fund a repair reserve up to $500,000.
    • Whether to purchase replacement buses at a maximum cost of $250,000.
    David Waddle, Melonie Bishop and Mark Ewing will be vying for two school board seats.