SANBORN – The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District needs to make some serious cuts to balance its budget for next year, but not as deeply as originally projected.
Because of changes in state funding formulas, the district will have to reduce expenditures by about $1.5 million instead of the estimated $2.2 million that was discussed last month.
School Superintendent Lynn Fusco told the School Board Wednesday that in order for the budget to reflect the state tax cap of 4.8 percent, $1,449,028 in reductions would need to be made when the $64.6 million budget is adopted April 23.
The change in the amount of cuts came about in part because of an increase of $163,677 in state aid that was passed in the State Legislature budget this week. In addition, the amount of money Niagara Wheatfield must contribute to the state deficit reduction assessment has gone down by $647,736, according to her presentation. She emphasized that there were reductions in other aid areas that totaled nearly $10,000.
She said she and her staff would be working on which programs and departments to cut before the next meeting. On her list of possible reductions were: busing ($500,000); high school electives ($640,000); increased class size ($480,000); coaching stipends ($324,719); administrative ($110,000); technology reductions ($82,000); third- through fifth-grade chorus ($80,202); elementary art ($80,000); speech improvement ($79,000); fifth-grade band and lessons ($75,254); buildings and grounds ($68,000); and club advisers ($54,046).
Under a budget with a 4.8 percent tax increase, residential property taxes would go up in the Town of Niagara by $1.08 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, Wheatfield by $1.28; Lewiston, $1.08; and Cambria, 82 cents. All rates were projected, she stressed.
Once adopted by the board, the budget will be the subject of a public hearing May 7 and will be presented to voters May 20.
In another matter, Fusco said district schools would need to be open an additional day this year to make up for closings caused by bad weather. The extra day will be June 26 during Regents exam week.