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The Times
  • Poland school budget would increase tax levy by 2.99 percent

  • The Poland Central School Board of Education unanimously approved a proposed 2013 - 2014 budget on April 1 that would increase the property tax levy by 2.99 percent.

    The increase is less than the district’s allowable 3.61 percent tax levy limit.

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  • The Poland Central School Board of Education unanimously approved a proposed 2013 - 2014 budget on April 1 that would increase the property tax levy by 2.99 percent.
    The increase is less than the district’s allowable 3.61 percent tax levy limit.
    The proposed $13.67 million budget calls for a 3.57 percent increase in spending compared to this year’s budget — largely due to the increasing cost of teacher and employee pension programs.
    “Despite the challenging economic times and increasing costs beyond our control, this budget would allow the Poland Central School District to maintain its existing programs,” Poland Superintendent Laura Dutton said in a news release. “We value the quality of education we’re able to provide our students at Poland, and this budget proposal would allow the district to stay on the positive course we have set.”
    The Poland Board of Education approved the proposed spending plan during a special meeting. District residents will be able to vote on the budget from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, in the school cafeteria.
    Cost drivers
    Two major expenses are driving the budget upward.
    First, is a major increase in the district’s state-mandated employer contributions to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York State Employees’ Retirement System. Under the law, the state requires schools to contribute a percentage of their employees’ salaries toward these retirement plans. Mandated employer contribution rates for the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System alone are expected to increase by more than 35 percent.
    Second, is a 9.81 percent increase —f rom about $2 million in the current school year to about $2.2 million in the proposed budget — for BOCES services. As part of the recent Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville school district merger, Oppenheim-Ephratah will no longer be part of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES region. That leaves the remaining component districts, including Poland, to contribute a greater percentage of the BOCES’ operating expenses.
    What’s next?
    Poland’s budget public hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, in Walker Auditorium in the school district, which is located at 74 Cold Brook St. in Poland. District residents are invited to attend the hearing to learn more about the proposed budget.
    Because Poland’s 2.99 percent proposed increase in the property tax levy is below the district’s maximum allowable tax levy of 3.61 percent as calculated by the state tax levy limit formula, this means the budget would require approval from more than 50 percent of the voters to pass.
    For the owner of a home valued at $100,000 who is on the Basic STAR Program, the proposed levy increase would result in an estimated tax increase of $2.15 per month, or $25.90 per year.
    On May 21, residents also will be asked to elect two members to the Board of Education. Board candidates have until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 22, to file their petitions.
    Page 2 of 2 - For information about the budget, visit www.polandcs.com or call the Poland budget hotline at 826-0205.
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