FREDONIA – Local property taxes in the Fredonia Central School District would increase for the 2013-14 school year under a proposed budget of $28 million, according to School Superintendent Paul DiFonzo.
The district plans to raise $15.07 million from local property taxes. Tax rates are projected to increase $3.29 in the Town of Pomfret, which includes the Village of Fredonia, $1.21 in Arkwright, $1.23 in Portland, 95 cents in Sheridan and 90 cents in Dunkirk. All increases are based on $1,000 of assessment.
According to the Chautauqua County Department of Taxation, the 2012-13 rates in each township were, $108.28, in Pomfret, $36.58 in Arkwright, $35.69 in Portland, $31.62 in Sheridan and $27.16 in Dunkirk. Rates are subject to change based on equalization rates in each township and the change in the assessed value of property in that area.
The local share is about 52 percent of revenues for the district, which receives most of its remaining revenues from state aid. DiFonzo said the district has lost more than $7 million in state aid over the last several years. “That’s a huge loss in a $28 million budget,” he said.
The School Board members and administration have made several cuts and reduced staffing in the district. “I hope the community realizes we are doing the best we can in a very difficult situation,” DiFonzo said.
The district had more than $400,000 in increases for employee benefits and has an additional $300,000 in costs for Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
“We continue to explore avenues that will allow our district to maintain necessary programming for students,” DiFonzo said.
Among the recent shared services is a program with Dunkirk City School District to combine the Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs and turn Wheelock School in Fredonia into an Early Childhood Education Center.
Voting on the school budget is from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the cafeteria. School Board member Roberta Coniglio is running without opposition for re-election.