WELLS -- Proposed Wells Central School District 2014/2015 budget appropriations presently reflect a 1.29 percent increase over the current school year's budget.
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage says items with the biggest impact on raising the budget are the teachers' retirement system and health insurance. He noted WCS's additional cost due to the Affordable Care Act is approximately $30,000.
There are significant areas of savings as well as items Sincavage and the Board of Education would like to expand. For example, areas planned for enhancement include: the music program (improving the quality of instruments), expanded art offerings, and bringing back the business program.
Maximizing the Distance Learning Room is also being pursued. The cost of DL service is approximately $70,000, but it has the potential to earn $90,000 for the district the following year.
State aid is supposed to increase 2.65 percent, or by $26,600 over this year, but it is still down $121,998 from the 2008/09 level. Also, the combined wealth ratio adversely affects state aid; this formula makes the district appear wealthy, which it is not, Sincavage said.
One board member would like to upgrade the school's sound system. Sincavage will research that.
Sincavage is interested in purchasing an ionizer walk-behind floor cleaner for the custodial department. It was agreed that this approximately $6,600 item could potentially be purchased from the current budget.
The board entered executive session during its March 5 meeting to discuss specific personnel issues and the superintendent evaluation.
It approved a revised three-year contract for Sincavage, through June 30, 2017. His salary for the next school year will be $110,000 and for the 2015/16 year $115,000.
BOE members President Cathie Rust, Dorman Reese and Ken Hoffman voted to approve the contract. Board members David Woodward and Colette Tomlinson were absent.
Sincavage briefed the board on a meeting he had with Transportation Supervisor Mindy Morrison and Bus Mechanic Jim Warner regarding a Bus Replacement Plan through 2025, whereby the district would not replace larger, more expensive buses back to back.
They let Sincavage know it is time to "let Cream Puff go." That is Morrison's bus, and it has cost the district too much in repairs this year.
A 30-passenger bus is needed to replace Cream Puff, at a cost of about $70,000. The district has the money needed to purchase this bus in a separate account that is earmarked for buses.
Note: This article is based on draft minutes of the March 5, 2014 meeting of the Wells Central School District Board of Education as provided by District Clerk Kathleen Towers.