Board OKs $25.23 million school budget

A proposed $25.23 million budget approved Tuesday by the Fonda-Fultonville school board to send to v
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A proposed $25.23 million budget approved Tuesday by the Fonda-Fultonville school board to send to voters later this spring would increase the tax levy by just under 3 percent for the 2008-09 school year.

Board of Education members described the budget as “conservative” and said they were grateful the district will be able to maintain current programs despite receiving about $60,000 less in state education funding than expected earlier this year.

The current tax levy of roughly $8 million will increase to approximately $8.24 million, school district Superintendent James Hoffman said.

Overall spending will increase 2.98 percent. The district of about 1,500 students encompasses areas of seven towns in Montgomery County.

Compared with the current tax rate, an increase of 3 percent would represent about an $85 increase on a $100,000 property in the town of Glen, putting the new property owner tax bill at roughly $2,928, not including any exemptions.

Precise tax rates, and the amount of surplus to be used, will not be known until August when the state sets equalization rates, Hoffman said. Hoffman estimates about $800,000 in surplus funds will be tapped, up $50,000 from the current budget.

Administrators confronted several shifts in anticipated revenues while putting the budget together, Hoffman said.

A loss of about $60,000 in state aid was mitigated by an increase of approximately $55,000 in payments the district is to receive from agreement with the Johnstown Industrial Park, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the district is receiving more state assistance than last year, but he believes the increase for the Fonda-Fultonville district is among the lowest in the region.

Staffing levels will see only minor changes. One position is being lost to retirement, and two new positions are being added: a custodian and a clerk typist, Hoffman said.

School board President Carole DeBonte said that considering the current economy, she is glad there wasn’t a major change in the school’s programming.

“I think it’s very important to be conservative this year … I’m happy we are not cutting any programs,” DeBonte said.

Officials are expecting next year to be more difficult in terms of funding, and Hoffman said the district will consider tightening any spending during the remainder of the year in hopes of saving money where possible for next year.

Hoffman said he is expecting to explore freezing department budgets for the rest of the year or possibly approving any spending on a case-by-case basis.

A public hearing on the budget will be scheduled for early next month, Hoffman said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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