The elimination of some nonteaching jobs, as well as savings through retirements, have helped reduce the projected deficit in the Ken-Ton School District’s budget for 2013-14 from approximately $3.1 million to less than $500,000.
Even so, homeowners still are looking at paying an additional $115 in taxes on a property with a market value of $100,000.
Changes to what is now a draft budget of approximately $149.4 million were reviewed during a work session Tuesday night in Hoover Middle School. The School Board plans to adopt a budget on April 9.
”This is a progressive budget process,” School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro said. “Much progress has been made, [but there is] much progress to be made.”
Non-instructional staffing reductions unveiled Tuesday include 2.5 teacher’s aides; two special-education aides, because the students they worked with one-on-on have graduated; one groundskeeper’s job, through attrition; and one laborer’s job. Further, kindergarten aides will be held to the four hours of work they are required to perform in the classroom, eliminating the extra hours some may have worked elsewhere. Those moves are expected to save $299,568.
As for retirements, 16 members of the Kenmore Teachers Association will be leaving; the draft budget accounts for 15 whose intentions were known before 10 a.m. Friday. There are two elementary teachers and three at the secondary level; two occupational-education teachers; five special-education teachers; and three library media specialists.
The savings from “breakage” – replacing people at the top of the pay scale with others who will be paid less – was estimated at $675,000.
The district also will be able to apply an additional $1 million from its surplus and fund balances to the revenue side of the budget, according to Gerald J. Stuitje, assistant superintendent for finance.
“We are enjoying another good year as far as utilities,” Stuitje said, explaining that the district locked into a very low rate for natural gas at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Still more reductions have come from obtaining accurate information about the district’s responsibilities to BOCES. Preliminary figures were estimates, while the actual numbers came in with a net reduction of a little more than $37,000.
Ken-Ton, along with every other school district in the state, still is waiting to see what happens with a proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to stabilize pension costs.
“There’s a possibility that even if this law got enacted, there might be some conflicting laws,” Stuitje said. “It’s really kind of up in the air.”
Also Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a bus purchase proposition that will be part of May’s voting.
The proposition is for the purchase of two 65-passenger buses, one wheelchair bus and four 30-passenger buses at a cost of $525,046.
Seventy percent – or roughly $367,532 – of the cost will be reimbursed by state aid. The proposition will not impact the 2013-14 budget, since the buses would be purchased during the school year and financing costs would be in the 2014-15 budget.