Mohonasen Central School District officials are still trying to come up with cuts to reduce their budget proposal by about $400,000 and keep the tax increase within the state-imposed cap.
Maintaining the current programs and staff would result in an increase of more than $3.5 million over this year’s roughly $44 million budget. The district has factored in cuts based on impending retirements and other expected reductions and arrived at a $46.4 million budget.
However, the district is receiving additional revenue, including a $600,000 School District Improvement grant, about $250,000 in additional state aid and will tap into reserves to bring the gap down to $1.3 million.
To get below the district’s tax levy cap of 4.21 percent would require cutting another $370,000 by eliminating almost six full-time-equivalent staff positions.
School officials have said previously that the biggest cost drivers are retirement, health insurance and contractual salary increases. Under the tax cap formula, the district is allowed to exclude from the cap increases in pension costs that are larger than 2 percentage points. The total contributions for the Teachers Retirement System is increasing from 11.84 percent of payroll this year to nearly 16.25 percent next year. Mohonasen can exclude 2.41 of that 4.41 percent increase — which amounts to $448,422.
Potential budget cuts will be presented at the board’s next meeting, at 7 p.m. April 8 at Mohonasen High School. Adoption of a budget plan is expected April 23 for the May 21 district vote.
The district will also have a proposition on the ballot to purchase four 66-passenger buses at a cost of $460,000. Transportation aid will cover nearly 72 percent of the cost, and the remaining share will be paid by the district over five years beginning in 2014-2015.
Two three-year seats on the Board of Education are up for election. Petitions are available at the district office and due back April 22.