Weekly Feature

2018-03-14 / Letters to the Editor

School budget proceeding well

There were two misleading comments left in last week’s Bee Heard regarding the school budget process. The state tax cap for schools is never a static 2 percent limit on the levy. The cap figure changes every year based on a complex formula that takes many factors into account, such as town growth.

Superintendent Hicks’ proposed 3.9 percent increase in the tax levy, not tax rate, is well below this year’s estimated 4.7 percent tax levy cap, part of this covered by the previously approved capital project borrowing to repair and update facilities and grounds. The tax rate is among the lowest in Western New York, and STAR-eligible households have received a rebate for the increase in the rate in every one of the past few years.

All of this is against a backdrop of a pitiful increase in state aid amounting to only 0.25 percent, or $8 per student. That $35,000 doesn’t cover much.

This year, the school district settled the teachers’ contract and offered an incentive prompting 22 retirements, allowing the levy to stay well below the cap. Enrollment projections show big increases in our elementary schools in the coming year. Kindergarten enrollment alone has run higher than projections the past three years. Homes are built and people move here in part because of the schools.

With respect to school safety, a task force has been created to review the district’s procedures and technology and to make recommendations to the board. If people are concerned about safety, they’re invited to participate.

One caller concluded ridiculously with “does anyone really care?” Yes. The students, teachers, faculty and staff care, and the community should, too. Excellent schools and our students’ achievements contribute to our town pride.

Alan Bedenko
Cimato Drive
Clarence Center

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