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Residents to vote on proposed 2017-18 budget on May 16

infobox with budget detailsApril 27, 2017 -- On Tuesday, May 16, Marcellus Central School District residents will vote on the district’s proposed $34,392,500 budget for the 2017-18 school year. The budget calls for a 2.97 percent increase in spending over 2016-17 and carries a 1.98 percent tax levy increase, the maximum allowed for the spending plan to pass with a simple majority.

The fiscal plan includes no program reductions, adds some staffing, creates a more efficient, centralized copying center and includes a $200,000 capital outlay for sidewalk repairs, replacement of concrete stairs leading from DMS to the upper field and replacement of the high school bleachers. Capital outlay projects receive approximately 81 percent state reimbursement.

Polls are open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, in Groeling Auditorium at Marcellus High School, 1 Mustang Hill, Marcellus, NY 13108.

Also on the ballot

Residents also will elect two members to the Board of Education and decide on a proposition to replace four school buses and one passenger van at a cost no greater than $262,074.

A third proposition asks voters to allow the Board of Education to create a capital reserve fund to assist with future construction, reconstruction, renovation and equipment purchases. If voters approve this proposition, money could be added to the capital reserve fund if there is a surplus at the end of the year. The Board may authorize funding of the reserve with some or all of the surplus, up to $5 million over a 10-year period.

A fourth proposition asks voters to consider a levy increase for the Marcellus Free Library.

Closing the gap

When district officials began budget development earlier this year, they projected a budget gap of $566,374.

“Much of the initial gap stemmed from a less-than-desirable increase in state aid, along with rising costs for debt service, employee salaries and benefits and the addition of two teaching positions to maintain class sizes at fifth grade and provide programs for students with disabilities,” Marcellus Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio said.

In April, administrators and Board of Education members were pleased to learn the district would receive an increase of $269,151 or 1.96 percent in total aid from the state, which helped to close the district’s budget gap. The district will make up for the remaining shortfall by increasing next year’s fund balance appropriation by $419,217.
“This proposed budget maintains the exceptional educational programming our community has come to expect from Marcellus Central Schools,” Superintendent Michelle L. Brantner said. “At the same time, it recognizes the financial limits of our taxpayers, by employing cost-saving measures and appropriating a prudent
amount of fund balance.”

The proposed budget:

  • Adds a full-time elementary teacher.
  • Adds a special education teacher.
  • Increases capacity of a part-time technology integration specialist by one day per week.
  • Creates a stipend for staff oversight of auditorium facilities at DMS and the high school.
  • Adds a centralized copying center to increase efficiency.
  • Increases the capital outlay budget by $100,000 to replace the high school bleachers.

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