BARKER – The Barker School District will hold a public hearing on its proposed $18.5 million budget for 2014-15 at 7 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of the high school, 1628 Quaker Road.
The proposed budget represents a 2.5 percent overall spending decrease from the current budget.
“The School Board has responded to reductions in revenue and enrollment through supporting cost-saving efficiencies in staffing and programs,” said Superintendent Roger Klatt. “Maintaining our ability to offer outstanding programs and services for all students at a reduced cost continues to drive the budget development process.”
One of the cost-saving measures is the sharing of Klatt as superintendent with the Royalton-Hartland School District. The two districts also share football and wrestling programs and some special-education programs.
“We continue to find ways to strengthen our curriculum and extracurricular programs through appropriate partnerships,” Klatt said.
Barker’s proposed budget includes an anticipated 2 percent increase in the tax levy, to $3.99 million. The tax levy will add $75,000 for the school district public library.
The tax levy limit allowed for Barker schools under the state tax cap is 45.6 percent, driven by the huge drop in the district’s payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Upstate New York Power Producers, the former Somerset coal plant,, from the current $4.5 million to $3 million for the 2014-15 school year. But the district is anticipating a tax levy increase of just 2 percent.
School officials estimate that the tax rate hike would be less than 2 percent in 2014-15 for the five towns that comprise the district.
They are estimating a tax rate of $16.46 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in the Town of Somerset, a 1.98 percent increase; $16.46 per $1,000 for properties in the towns of Hartland and Yates, also a 1.98 percent hike; $17.89 for a property in the Town of Newfane; and $16.45 for a property in the Town of Ridgeway, an increase of 1.94 percent.
A home assessed at $100,000 in the towns of Somerset, Hartland and Yates, for example, would have an estimated tax bill of $1,646 under this proposed budget.
“Property owners in our district are also eligible for the property tax freeze rebate program, which allows residents to receive a rebate check in the fall equal to the difference between their school tax bill for 2013-14 and their bill for 2014-15,” Klatt said.
Residents will vote on the budget from noon to 8 p.m. May 20 at the high school. Voters also will be asked to return two incumbents to the Board of Education that day, John Sweeney Jr. and Louis Mead.