As administrators lay out the prospective budget of $30.7 million for the 2013-14 school year, the Tonawanda City School District could increase the tax levy by as much as 4.56 percent under the state’s new tax cap system.
The schools’ administrator for business and financial services, Stephen Perry, and other officials are presenting the proposed budget piece by piece to School Board members and a district advisory team of community members. At this point, administrators have yet to make any cuts from the proposed budget.
“We need some direction on what the board would like us to target,” Perry said.
Board President Jackie Smilinich offered just that at Tuesday night’s session, as she asked at least $50,000 be cut from the facilities and maintenance budget. Manager Paul Maziarz believes savings could be found from closing the Central School building, which was used for storage.
“I can tell you we probably will end up with a surplus [this year] in my department,” Maziarz said.
However, at least one advisory team member recalled last year when the board directed administrators to make an additional 10 percent in budget cuts, only to see those cuts dramatically affect programs.
“If [the $50,000 in cuts] can’t be done, please just don’t do it,” said Elizabeth Olka, pleading with administrators.
The budget process will continue through next month, when the board must adopt a spending plan to present to the public. While the tax levy seems high now, Perry believes additional revenues will help bring the budget more in line with what the community is comfortable with.
“As bad as this may seem, this is just a snapshot in time,” he said.
“We have a number of things we’re working on that have yet to come to fruition, but as we move through this hard process, I expect to see these numbers change quite a bit.”