WELLS -- The Wells Central School District Board of Education has adopted a proposed $5,426,898 spending plan for 2014-15.
The proposal would increase district spending by 1.29 percent and result in an $86,265 or 2.22 percent tax levy increase, the maximum allowed for the school district this year.
Budget areas showing increases are retirement costs, BOCES administration (up 2 percent), salary increases, restoration of cut programs and equipment purchases. Health insurance is going up by 4.7 percent, with 3 percent of that due to Obamacare, according to minutes of the May 6 BOE meeting.
Also, the BOE has decided to re-open the school nurse position, and is seeking new applicants.
State aid is up by $73,291 or 6.8 percent, but the school is losing $59,699 in the Gap Elimination Adjustment. "The GEA has cost WCS $743,641 since 2010/2011," Superintendent Thomas Sincavage says.
ON THE BALLOT
Residents will go to the polls Tuesday, May 20, to vote on the budget and elect one candidate to one available seat on the board. Voters will also decide on a proposal to allow the board to create Bus Replacement Reserve and Capital Project Reserve funds, each not to exceed $400,000 over 10 years.
Voters will also be asked to approve a bus purchase for $70,685. The district already has the necessary funds for the new bus.
Steve Stofelano Jr. is the only candidate for the BOE. Incumbent David Woodward is not running for a second five-year term on the board.
Stofelano graduated Gloversville High School and then University at Albany - SUNY, with a Master of Science degree in Education. The NYS Office of Children & Family Services in Hudson has employed him as a vocational instructor in its culinary and hospitality division since 2009 and he is a substitute teacher at WCS.
He was the owner and chef of Mansion Hill Inn & Restaurant in downtown Albany from 1984-2011, when he sold the business.
Stofelano says he is running for the BOE as an "opportunity to continue to serve my neighbors, as I have as a volunteer EMT-B with Wells Volunteer Ambulance Corps and volunteer firefighter with Wells Volunteer Fire Dept."
This is his first run for a public office.
As qualifications Stofelano cites his willingness to serve, 27 years as a small business owner and his permanent grades K-12 teacher certification. He says he attended three BOE meetings during the past year.
Stofelano says the top two current issues at the school are "listening to neighbors, parents and students" and "increasing student enrollment."
As a BOE member his goals would be to "work with the BOE, administration, staff and community to maintain the financial viability of the school district."
Stofelano's wife is a substitute cafeteria worker at the school. They have one daughter, Elizabeth Lane Stofelano.