Keshequa Central School District officials presented its board of education with its first draft budget last week.

Although it’s a little late in the game,Keshequa might have a tight handle on it nonetheless.

Keshequa Central School District officials presented its board of education with its first draft budget last week.

“I don’t think I can safely say we have a projected amount at this point,”?Keshequa Superintendent Donald Covell said about a budget number in his office Tuesday.

Keshequa is trying to hover around the $18 million mark for next year’s budget, which is right about where it stands this school year.

Covell said the district has been able to keep its expenditures flat for the past three years, and has been able to make up for  state aid losses mostly through attrition.

“I think that’s good planning. I think the district reflected pretty good planning. And I?think it’s reflected a pretty conservative perspective.”

In doing so, the school district has tried in recent years to save taxpayers from taking a big hit. But, “Frankly, we’re very worried about our ability to continue to do that into the future for too long.”

The district is 70 percent dependent upon state aid. Covell expressed the same concerns as other local districts over the state’s distribution of school funds that seem to favor wealthier suburban districts.

Keshequa is expected to receive a $200,000 increase in state aid this year, a good start Covell said, but it is still at least $100,000 less than the district’s anticipated cost increases.

For Keshequa, health insurance is expected to rise between $215,000  and $224,000.

Employee retirement system (employees that are not teachers) is expected to increase $29,000; teacher retirement system is expected to increase $27,000; and worker’s compensation is expected to increase $22,000.

Altogether, known increases are expected to tally around $293,000. But contractual increases and normal business costs such as utilities and bus fuel are anticipated to go up as well.

Keshequa – unlike a few other school districts – can produce a 2 percent tax cap. Some districts such as Wayland-Cohocton actually have a less than 2 percent tax cap according to an eight-step state formula.

For Wayland-Cohocton, to have a 2 percent increase would require a 60 percent supermajority public approval.

Keshequa is intending to present a less than 2 percent increase. “We’re going to go out with as flat as a tax rate as we can...we’re not even going to begin to approach anything like two percent,” Covell said.

But exactly what rate it will present to the public is yet to be determined. Specific district reductions such as layoffs is expected to be determined any day. The board of education is expected to accept a budget for public approval during its April 19 meeting.

The public vote is scheduled for May 15.


Contact Jeff Miller at jeffmiller@dansvilleonline or 585-335-2271.