Medina won’t raise school taxes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2013 at 12:00 am

Budget restores modified sports, 2 positions

MEDINA – The Board of Education approved a $33,805,130 budget for 2013-14 that won’t raise school taxes and will restore some staff and modified sports.

Medina two years ago slashed 30 positions and eliminated many extracurricular activities. The district responded to a state aid cut of about $2 million for 2011-12.

The district is in better shape this budget. It will keep the tax levy at $9,135,636. The overall budget increases spending by $377,200. Teacher and staff benefit costs – health insurance, contributions to the retirement system, worker’s compensation – are up $640,428 to $8,107,706.

A $414,255 state aid increase will help pay for the rising expenses. Medina also is budgeting for a $150,709 reduction in transportation costs. The district this school year shifted to a combined morning and afternoon bus run. That has saved 75,000 miles on the bus fleet. However, the district purchased three buses because of the single bus runs for 2012-13. Next year, the district won’t have to add buses outside of its regular replacement schedule.

Medina also will see a $137,309 drop in debt service payments.

The Board of Education has talked about bringing back programs since the cuts two years ago. Modified sports for students in junior high will return next school year at a $35,500 cost.

“We’ve maintained our programs and added back modified sports, which I think is important,” said BOE President Carol Heiligenthaler.

The district also is bringing back a curriculum director, and will add a network specialist to focus on the school’s technology needs.

“This budget is fiscally sound while at the same time increasing opportunities for students,” Jeff Evoy, the district superintendent, said at Tuesday’s BOE meeting. “We have to remember we are here for our students.”

District residents can comment on the budget during a 6:30 p.m. public hearing May 7 at the district office. Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. on May 21 at the district office.

Voters will also decide whether Medina can spend $200,000 to purchase one 66-passenger bus and two 30-passenger buses.

Another proposition would establish a capital reserve account for up to $2.5 million. School officials said they want to modify an existing reserve fund to allow for more money to be set aside. The district plans to use surplus funds at the end of fiscal years to put in the account.

Four seats on the Board of Education also will be up for election. The terms for Virginia Nicholson, Wendy Pencille, John McCarthy and Susan Squires are all expiring. The deadline to submit petitions to run for the BOE is 5 p.m. April 22.