The $7,218,236 spending plan meets tax cap limitation

CANASERAGA — Canaseraga school board members last week approved a reduced 2016-17 budget that meets the tax cap and is only $2,939 more than the current budget.

The district also took exploratory steps toward reopening a discussion of merger with another school district

The $7,218,236 budget proposal is $54,782 less than the financial plan voters rejected in May when the measure failed to reach the 60 percent threshold needed for budgets that exceed tax caps. The May vote was 78 in favor and 71 against.

The calculated tax cap for the district is 2.15 percent.

Superintendent Chad Groff said the budget reduction was achieved with the removal of a staff position.

A hearing on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9 in the school library.

The re-vote is scheduled from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 in the school foyer.

The school district also is exploring in preliminary discussions with the Arkport Central Board of Education and administrators the potential for a merger. An exit poll of Canaseraga voters in May responded 94 to 21 in favor of the question if a merger would be helpful, Groff said.

Survey responses included “It’s time to do this,” “”I’m afraid we can’t go on (as a stand-alone district) with our (limited financial resources),” “Consider the plan as soon as you can,” Arkport-Canaseraga interscholastic sports cooperation seems to be working, voters now “have better attitudes” about the proposal and “We would prefer K-8 grades in Canaseraga” with the high school in Arkport, the superintendent said.

Arkport school officials conducted a similar survey and will probably have poll information at the Wednesday, June 8 board of education meeting, Groff said..

Staff from the Greater Southern Tier Board of Cooperative Educational Services helped conduct the Arkport poll and expect to provide detailed results at the meeting, Groff said Arkport officials told him.

Residents of Alfred-Almond, Arkport and Canaseraga last year defeated a proposed union of the three districts.

At the Canaseraga board meeting last week, the chairperson of the district special education committee, Noel Livingston, said “I don’t know what else can be cut” from district staff and academic programs. Livingston added “the majority of residents seem interested” in a merger proposal with Arkport .

Livingston was a Canaseraga representative on the advisory committee that oversaw discussions of the proposed three-district merger.

In another part of the Canaseraga exit poll, six respondents said all district academic offerings were “excellent,” 35 labeled them “good,” 10 said “fair” and one responded “poor,” Groff said.

The superintendent also told board members the district is working on the proposed above-ground fuel storage system.

Board members scheduled their reorganization meeting for Thursday, July 7.