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The Telegram
  • Frankfort-Schuyler board adopts $17.6 million proposed budget

  • The Frankfort-Schuyler school board has adopted a $17,657,224 proposed budget for 2013 - 2014 to present to school district voters next month. School Business Administrator Kacey Sheppard-Thibault gave a presentation on the spending plan during Tuesday’s school board meeting. Sheppard-Thibault sai...
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  • The Frankfort-Schuyler school board has adopted a $17,657,224 proposed budget for 2013 - 2014 to present to school district voters next month.
    School Business Administrator Kacey Sheppard-Thibault gave a presentation on the spending plan during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
    Sheppard-Thibault said the initial proposed expenditure budget totaled $17,902,558 while anticipated revenues came to $17,657,224, leaving a budget gap of $245,334. She listed the reductions made to balance the proposed budget. They include the following:
    • 2.6 teaching positions and one teaching assistant position were eliminated due to enrollment.
    • A custodian who is retiring will be replaced with a cleaner.
    • There are some cuts in athletics.
    Superintendent Robert Reina said the district would not have a bowling team next year under this proposal. This is due in part to the closing of Thurston’s Lanes. The lack of available lanes and the added cost of transporting students were factors in this decision, he said. Winter cheerleading was eliminated. Few students have shown an interest in winter cheerleading, although fall cheerleading remains popular. In other sports, teams will be offered at all levels — modified, junior varsity and varsity — but the number of contests will be reduced by two or, in the case of sports with fewer contests, an equivalent percentage. Golf was eliminated last year and was not included in the proposed budget. Reina said one F-S student is practicing with the team from another school and is competing as an independent player.
    • An arts and education service offered through BOCES and a home school coordinator, also a shared service through BOCES, were eliminated from the budget. The latter will be handled by the school district.
    Sheppard-Thibault also pointed out several items still included in the proposed budget including elementary and secondary art and music at the current levels, Project Lead the Way, full-day kindergarten and half-day pre-kindergarten.
    A new program, Engineering by Design, has been added for 2013 - 2014 in the proposed budget. This is a program for students in grades K-8 in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The nationwide program is being offered through Oneida BOCES and will lead into Project Lead the Way. Reina told the board that a Frankfort-Schuyler teacher who attended a conference for Project Lead the Way learned the school district was among the top 10 in the state in terms of percentage of eligible student participation with more than 100 students in grades 9-12 involved in the program.
    The $17.6 million spending plan is up 1.657 percent over the budget for the current school year and the proposed tax levy increase is 3.5 percent, which is well within the property tax cap as determined by a formula.
    The impact of the proposed tax levy increase would mean an increase of $47.45 in the tax bill for a house assessed at $50,000 in the town of Frankfort and $39.54 for a similarly assessed house in the town of Schuyler, based on last year’s assessments after equalization. For a house assessed at $75,000, the increase would be $71.18 in the town of Frankfort and $59.32 in the town of Schuyler, according to Sheppard-Thibault.
    Page 2 of 2 - School board Vice President Michael Button praised the job the administrators had done on the budget, pointing out that the figures are much lower than some neighboring districts. “Our programs are as good or better than a lot of area schools,” he added.
    Board member Jack Bono said eliminating one building — the West Frankfort School — and housing all of the elementary pupils in one building “is paying dividends.”
    Reina said the board had set some bottom lines when the budget process began. “You established priorities and we tried to keep to those,” he added.
    A hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 14 at 7 p.m. in the middle - high school library. The school budget vote is set for May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. in the old high school gymnasium.
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