OLEAN – Property taxpayers in the Olean City School District will be presented with a proposed tax levy increase of 2.8 percent in a budget of $37.61 million for the 2013-14 school year, according to School Superintendent Dr. Colleen Taggerty and Business Administrator Kathy Elser.
It could have been much worse, according to Elser. Under what many people call the tax cap, it is widely believed that a levy increase cannot exceed two percent without a supermajority vote of the district. That is not accurate.
Elser said a complicated formula places Olean’s tax levy increase at 4.27 percent.
Since 2009, school districts in the state have seen decreasing amounts of financial aid. The Olean District’s 2009-10 budget of $35.12 million received $17.53 million in state aid, almost 50 percent of the total budget. For the 2013-14 budget, the district is getting $16.34 million, or 43.44 percent of the proposed budget.
Members of the budget subcommittee have taken some classes back into the district from BOCES, saving the positions of local teachers and cutting some expenses. In addition, the district will lose one teacher through attrition, without replacement. Three others, reading coaches under the Reading First program, will be laid off.
In addition to voting on the budget, residents will vote on the sale of a small strip of land adjacent to the Intermediate Middle School to a neighboring business to be used for parking. Another property to be sold is the former Boardmanville Elementary School to a private buyer.
One proposition has been taken off the ballot. The sale of the other closed elementary school, Ivers J. Norton, to Community Bank has fallen through and will not be voted upon by residents.
A final item on the ballot will be to fill the seats of three members of the Board of Education. The seats currently held by Dan Harris and James Padlo are up for election. The seat previously occupied by Amy Giachetti will also be up for vote to fill the rest of her term. Giachetti resigned her seat when she and her family moved from the area.
Padlo is running to maintain his seat. Former board member Michiko McElfresh will also be on the ballot. Having only two candidates to fill three seats, write-in candidates will be considered for the open seat.
School Board and budget voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Music Suite of the Intermediate Middle School, 401 Wayne St., Olean.