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Voters approve 2016-17 budget proposal, re-elect three BOE members

photo of electronic school signOn May 17, Marcellus Central School District voters approved the district’s $33.4 million 2016-17 budget proposal and elected three Board of Education members.

  • Approved a $33,401,273 budget for the 2016-17 school year that increases spending 3.56 percent ($1,147,684), and carries a 1.99 percent tax levy increase: 573 yes, 257 no.
  • Approved the purchase of four school buses at a cost not to exceed $444,932: 582 yes, 248 no.
  • Re-elected three members of the Board of Education: Janine Lundrigan (653 votes), Ryan Riefler (656 votes) and Thomas West (632 votes). They will serve three-year terms starting July 1.
  • Approved an annual budget increase of $9,864 for Marcellus Free Library: 589 yes, 240 no.
“Thank you to everyone who made time in their busy schedules to vote today,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Judith C. Pastel said. “I’m delighted that incoming Superintendent Michelle Brantner can begin here on July 1 with a fiscally responsible plan that preserves and enhances the quality academic program residents have come to expect from Marcellus schools.”
The 2016-17 tax levy increase of 1.99 percent was the largest increase the district could have passed with approval from a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of voters, per the state’s property tax levy limit law. The law requires each school district to calculate its own levy limit based on a complex, multi-step formula. Any increase above this limit would have required approval of a supermajority, or at least 60 percent of voters.

Administrators reduced the tax levy increase – or the amount of revenue raised through property taxes – by employing a number of strategies, including:
  • Allocating $930,222 in reserve funds.
  • Sharing transportation services with Cortland City School District, for the busing of special needs students.
  • Returning some administrative services from BOCES to the district.
  • Continuing to work with the Central New York Health Consortium, to find ways to reduce the district’s cost for employee benefits.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank the Marcellus voters for approving this budget,” said board President Ryan Riefler. “Year after year, this community pledges its support for our critical mission to help students develop the responsibility, confidence and knowledge they need to thrive in a 21st century world. And we are grateful.”

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