WELLS - Wells Central School District Board of Education has a proposed 2013-14 school year budget of $5.36 million, up $190,916 or 3.7 percent from this year.
One reason for the change is $40,000 less in fund balance is being used to reduce taxes. Another reason is benefits, which have gone up by $150,908 or 11 percent.
On the other hand, state aid is up by $125,436 to $1,082,190. State aid represents 20.2 percent of the budget.
Under the proposed budget the estimated tax levy is $3.89 million, up 2.49 percent. This is $37,675 below this year's state-mandated cap on any increase.
The annual vote will be Tuesday, May 21, from 12:30-8:30 p.m. at the school.
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage expects 156 students next school year. This year there are 162. In 2011-12 there were 172, in 2010-11 there were 171 and in 2009-10 there were 180, all according to the most recent school report card.
The board abolished two half-time positions as of June 30: one in reading and one in physical education; but created a new 11-month building principal / athletic director position to begin in July.
The board continues to explore shared services as a way to cut costs. Most recently, Wells met with Edinburg Common School District about sharing a physical therapist among three school districts, which would save Wells about $5,000.
NEW RESERVE FUNDS
The school district is not expected to spend more than 85 percent of the current budget. As a result the board of education has voted to create two reserve funds: a $50,000 Unemployment Insurance Reserve Fund and a Tax Certiorari Reserve.
The first is to reimburse the state Unemployment Insurance Fund for payments made to claimants. It will be funded in the future by excess fund balance or budgetary appropriations.
The Tax Certiorari Reserve Fund was set at 3 percent of the 2012/2013 tax levy: $113,737. A tax certiorari is the process by which a taxpayer seeks to lower an assessment. If successful, the school district must issue a tax refund.
The 24 laptops, Distance Learning Lab upgrade and SMARTBoards have been removed from the building project the board has been considering. The laptops and SMARTBoards will instead be purchased with money from the current budget.
Adding ventilation and air conditioning to a small, makeshift office was also deleted. The employee will be relocated instead.
The architect will be asked about the difference between bulletproof glass and architectural glass and the cost difference in construction of the front vestibule. The board also wants to know what it would cost to install cameras in the bus barn and the cost per exterior door for access control.
The board expects to vote on the building project during its May 22 meeting.
-- Custodian Dale Earley, clerk Deborah Taylor and part-time physical education / health teacher Susan Williamsen will retire effective July 1.
-- The school will advertise for bids for a new Chevrolet Suburban school bus and have Bus 38 repaired for no more than $6,600.
-- The Town of Wells delivered and spread two tons of stone dust, donated by TetraTech of Mayfield, on the ball fields. The project cost the school district nothing.
-- The 2014 April break will be April 11-18 instead of April 18-25.
-- Dayna Fisher was granted tenure in Reading, based upon her service in that area since September 2000, and credited with seniority in that area as of June 30.
Note: This article is partially based on draft minutes of meetings of the Wells Central School District Board of Education as provided by District Clerk Kathleen Towers.