Holley school budget raises taxes 1.99 percent

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 4 May 2016 at 12:00 am
Holley board of education

Photos by Kristina Gabalski – Holley School Board of Education candidates, Christine Klafehn, Brenda Swanger and John Heise (left to right) take questions from the audience during a Meet the Candidates forum prior to the district’s annual meeting Tuesday evening at the Holley Elementary School.

HOLLEY – The proposed Holley Central School budget for 2016-17 includes a 1.99 percent increase in the tax levy, which school officials say falls below the tax levy cap of 2.219 percent.

Members of the Holley School Board of Education held their annual meeting Tuesday evening, which included a presentation on the proposed budget by Assistant Superintendent for Business Sharon Zacher.

Zacher said the $24.4 million proposed 2016/2017 budget is 4.73 percent higher than the current year budget. The nearly 5 percent budget-to-budget increase is due to the district’s share of the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Capital Project, she said.

“We pay our portion as an expense item,” Zacher said, and explained this is the first of a three-year contribution. A portion of the expense will be aided on the revenue side of the budget, she noted. Without the BOCES Capital Project, the budget-to-budget increase is 2.32 percent.

The 1.99 percent increase in the tax levy brings the average tax rate to approximately $22.81 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The proposed budget maintains current staffing and programs, District Superintendent Robert D’Angelo said.

Flowers at Holley Elementary

The garden in the open courtyard area has flowers in bloom at the Holley Elementary School.

Zacher said on the appropriations side, health insurance costs have increased 6 to 7 percent over the current year.

On the revenue side, the district will receive $15.87 million in state aid. The district will collect $6.86 million with the tax levy.

Zacher noted the ending of the Gap Elimination Adjustment in the state budget will mean a restoration of $284,309 for the district. Foundation Aid increased 1.48 percent to $141,880.

The proposed budget uses $1.3 million of appropriated fund balance, Zacher said.

Voters will see three propositions on the ballot May 17.

Proposition 1 is the $24.4 million annual district budget; Proposition 2 regards authorizing the purchase of schools buses – two full-sized and two 30-passenger school buses not to exceed $339,000; Proposition 3 is the budget for the Community Free Library in Holley of $116,061.

Additionally, three candidates are running for two 3-year term seats on the School Board. John Heise and Brenda Swanger are running for re-election, and Christine Klafehn is also running for an open seat.

Before the annual meeting Tuesday evening, a meet the candidates forum was held. All three candidates discussed their desire to run for the School Board and also answered questions.

Both Heise and Swanger, who currently serves as School Board President, said they would like to continue serving the district. They have both been board members for 12 years.

“I’m proud of our district,” Swanger said.

Heise noted the district is seeing positive results of its programs with higher test scores. He currently serves as the Holley representative on the BOCES 2 Board of Education.

Christine Klafehn is a retired special education teacher and a former member of the Kendall Central School Board of Education, serving part of that time as president. She is also a former Kendall Recreation and Hamlin Recreation soccer coach. She noted her experience in Kendall would be helpful as the two districts plan to look into ways to work together.

“I know the district (Kendall) quite well,” she said.

Klafehn said she has been very happy with the education her children have received in the Holley Central School District. “I’m excited to put my name in the hat,” she said of her candidacy.

Voting will take place May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the foyer of the Holley Middle School/High School.