An anticipated increase in state aid is expected to wipe out the remaining deficit of almost $542,000 in the Ken-Ton School District’s preliminary budget for 2013-14.
Tuesday night, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance briefed the School Board and a small audience on changes made since the March 5 work session to what is now a roughly $148.9 million budget.
“It is not a recommended budget at this point in time ... especially not without the state aid runs,” said Gerald J. Stuitje.
Those changes include the announced retirements of three administrators, who opted to take an incentive that would give each up to $30,000 toward their health savings accounts. Each was required to have 10 years of uninterrupted service with Ken-Ton and at least 30 years of credit in the state teachers retirement system.
“They can use it to defer some of their medical costs in retirement,” explained Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro. Otherwise, the district’s contribution to medical insurance in retirement varies, based on accrued vacation and sick days.
Those retirements will save the district about $127,000 in the 2013-14 budget and “much more” in the next two to three years, Mondanaro said.
The district also is applying money from its three-year, $3.6 million state efficiency grant to offset roughly $172,000 in expenditures – some related to the Big Picture alternative learning program.
“The goal is to use the funds wisely without creating our own ‘fiscal cliff’ in a few years,” Stuitje said.
Entering the budget development process, the district could have increased the tax levy by 5.66 percent, under the provisions of the state tax cap. As of March 5, the increase was 5.40 percent.
The latest draft of the preliminary budget has it at 4.66 percent, adding $532,233 to the projected deficit. “These changes were made because of the expected state aid,” Stuitje said.
The impact on property taxes wasn’t immediately available.
March 5, when the district was looking at a 5.40 percent tax levy increase, it would have meant an additional $115 in taxes on a home with a market value of $100,000.
The board expects to adopt a budget at its April 9 meeting.
In other business Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved the appointment of Frances Paskowitz, one of the retiring administrators, as interim principal of Hoover Elementary School through June 2014.
Paskowitz, who serves as the school’s principal, had approached the district about staying on for transitional purposes as the district looks to consolidate buildings. Hoover is among four elementary schools that will absorb students from Jefferson Elementary School, which is closing this summer.
Paskowitz will be paid a per diem rate of $400.