Lyndonville proposes 1% tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2013 at 12:00 am

Petition seeks to reduce BOE from 9 to 7 members

LYNDONVILLE – The Board of Education on Monday approved a $13,094,250 budget for 2013-14, a spending plan that would raise taxes by 1 percent.

Residents can comment on the budget during a 7 p.m. public hearing May 13 in the school library. They go to the polls May 21 to vote on the budget.

Residents on May 21 will also decide the fate of a proposition to reduce the size of Board of Education from nine to seven members. Lyndonville is the smallest school district in Orleans County, but it has the largest BOE.

Medina and Albion both have nine-member boards, while Kendall has five. Holley residents last year approved a referendum to shrink the board there from nine to five members. (A new referendum in Holley seeks to stop the reduction to seven members.)

The overall budget represents a slight increase over the $12,964,687 approved for the current school year. The increase in 2013-14 is driven by a $370,000 hike in employee health and retirement benefits, District Superintendent Jason Smith said

Lyndonville is offsetting some of that increase by eliminating one teacher position due to an enrollment drop. Another teacher is retiring and will be replaced with one who earns less money.

The Board of Education also made budget reductions to conferences, supplies and materials.

“We made some cuts, but we wanted to avoid things that directly touch the students,” Smith said today.

The budget calls for raising $4,666,578 in taxes, a 1 percent increase from the $4,620,374 collected in the 2012-13 budget. That keeps the district under a property tax cap set at about 2 percent by the state.

School leaders were eyeing a 1.7 percent tax hike, but state aid exceeded projections, allowing the tax increase to be 1 percent, Smith said.

The budget keeps a $100,000 college readiness program. The state approved that funding in a competitive grant process for Lyndonville last year. The three-year grant – the Advancement via Individual Determination Program or AVID – covers grades six through 11 and goes toward training teachers, salaries, supplies and materials.