The Cleveland Hill School Board has a $370,000 budget hole it hopes to fill with additional state financial aid, but if not, the district must make drastic cuts or call for a higher-than-expected tax increase, according to officials Wednesday night.
District administrators continued their series of 2013-2014 budget presentations, giving updates about where their spending plan stands. Cleveland Hill is awaiting word from the state on how much state money it will receive this year, hoping to hear within the next week. District Business Manager Dennis Corsaro thinks the aid could be enough to cover the budget shortfall.
Cleveland Hill is planning for a budget that would call for a 2 percent increase in the tax levy. Under the state’s tax cap law, the district could raise the tax levy 4.76 percent with a majority vote from the community. If too little revenue comes in, the community could see a tax rate hike closer to 4 percent instead of 2 percent. Budget cuts could also be considered.
“We’ll sit down with the board to see if we want to make any additional cuts to the budget,” Corsaro said. “We are optimistic with some of the proposals from the state that we will be getting more aid.”
Administrators also explained aspects of the special-education budget, especially a plan to bring BOCES students back into the district that could save about $169,000 next year. The overall special-education budget is expected to be decreased about $47,000 from the current year.
Superintendent Jon MacSwan said bringing the special-education students back into Cleveland Hill would allow the district to adapt to the needs of the individual student. The plan would affect about four or five middle-school-age children.
“Every year, we look at whether we can bring students back into the district,” MacSwan said. “We’ve been able to do that consistently over the past few years, and it’s been able to save us some money.”
By bringing a group of special-education students back into the district, Cleveland Hill may be able to accommodate the needs of neighboring districts like Cheektowaga Central.
The district’s next budget session is scheduled for April 10, when officials will host a public hearing on the entire budget.
The Board of Education is expected to adopt a budget plan later that night.