DANSVILLE — During its regular meeting on April 9, the Dansville Board of Education approved a $32,722,530 budget for the 2019/2020 school year. The budget has been scheduled for a public vote on May 21. Of that $32 million amount, $21 million is coming from state aid.
Superintendent Paul Alioto said that because the state aid is less than desirable this year, the district will have to draw from its reserves and make cuts in spending to keep the local tax levy low--which is proposed to increase 1.99 percent or $166,028. Alioto said the board wanted to keep the increase less than 2 percent, though the cap is 2.63 percent.
The district is proposing to reduce $442,627 in spending next year, and among those reductions are a Primary School counselor position (by attrition); a Reading and Writing teacher on special assignment (by attrition); summer curriculum work for teachers; a formerly-proposed new district office clerk/typist position; a formerly-proposed new school counselor position; $25,000 in athletics; and reduced spending in facilities and transportation.
The budget-to-budget increase from this school year to next is $1.5 million. More than $700,000 of that is in high-cost special education student placements such as out-of-district programs and transportation. Alioto said the district has little control over that portion of the budget.
“The adopted budget protects and preserves programs and education opportunities for students,” Alioto said. “At the same time, I can’t feel but a little helpless over the increases in costs for students with significant disabilities,” he said, adding that the district does get a portion of that money back.
Alioto went on to say that he is also disappointed with the level of funding by Albany.
“Albany seems to have forgotten about rural districts in Western New York and the Southern Tier,” he said. “It seems the money and increases are directed toward urban school districts, small city school districts and away from districts like ours. And that is discouraging.”
On the bright side, Alioto said the district has had a few good years recently, which has given them the chance to build reserves, and is now able to put those reserves in good use to offset Albany’s lackluster increases in state aid. He also said that he currently feels good about the overall financial situation of the district, as well as the opportunities the district is able to provide to students.