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Albion school budget reduces taxes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2018 at 8:00 am

Shawn Liddle

ALBION – The Board of Education approved a 35,225,625 budget for 2018-19 on Monday evening, a spending plan that reduces taxes by 0.3 percent.

The budget will go before voters on May 15 from noon to 8 p.m. at the elementary school conference room A.

The budget reduces the tax levy by 25,845, from $8,474,939 to $8,449,094. The projected tax rate would decrease from $15.52 to $15.47 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The budget represents the 10th time in the past 12 years the district has either held the line in taxes or reduced them.

“The district has always been fiscally responsible,” said Margy Brown, president of the Board of Education.

The budget increases spending by 1.2 percent from $34,796,676 to $35,225,625. The district was able to cut taxes despite increases in salaries, benefits and an additional $100,000 for occupational and vocational programs through the Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

Albion is getting a boost in state aid. The district also paid off a bond last year and that reduced the district’s bond payment by $346,950. That drop in a bond payment saved the district 1 percent of its budget.

Albion’s enrollment continues to shrink, from the current 1,815 to a projected 1,776 in 2018-19. The district is planning to eliminate one teaching position in the elementary school, and half a secretary in administration.

Several staff are also retiring and they will be replaced with new hires at smaller salaries.

“It’s no small feat to continue the programs we do with our salary and benefits increases,” said Shawn Liddle, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

The district will have a public hearing on the budget on May 8 at the LGI in the high school.

The vote on May 15 includes other propositions:

• Authorization to spend $490,000 from the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund to buy buses for the 2019-2020 school year. State aid covers about 90 percent of the costs for new buses, Liddle said.

• Authorization to create a Capital Reserve Fund with up to $7,195,000 with the funds going to school repairs and improvements.

“The proposition is permission to save, not permission to spend,” Liddle said.

The district could face another capital project in about five years, and setting aside funds in the next few years will allow Albion to have local funds saved for a future project.

• Authorization to collect $714,920 for Hoag Library, which is up 4.0 percent from the $687,211 in 2017-18.

• There are also two seats open on the nine-member Board of Education, with the positions currently filled by Margy Brown and Linda Weller up for election. The seats are for five-year terms. Petitions nominating candidates are due with the clerk of the district by 5 p.m. on April 16. Petitions must be signed by at least 25 qualified voters in the school district.

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