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The Times
  • Poland school budget would raise taxes 2.99%

  • Poland Central School District voters will be asked to approve a proposed $13.67 million budget for 2013 - 2014 at the annual budget vote May 21. Voting will be from 2 to 8 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The board of education voted last month to adopt the proposed budget that maintains school programs a...
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  • Poland Central School District voters will be asked to approve a proposed $13.67 million budget for 2013 - 2014 at the annual budget vote May 21.
    Voting will be from 2 to 8 p.m. in the school cafeteria.
    The board of education voted last month to adopt the proposed budget that maintains school programs and 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.
    For the owner of a home valued at $100,000 who is enrolled in 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.
    The proposed $13,671,995 budget is up $471,607, or 3.57 percent, compared to this year’s $13,200,388 budget, according to Poland Superintendent Laura Dutton, who said this is 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 Poland Central School District to maintain its existing programs,” 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.”
    A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m. in Walker Auditorium in the school district, located at 74 Cold Brook St., Poland.
    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 - from 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.
    On May 21, residents also will be asked to elect two members to the board of education. Incumbent board member Melissa Allen and Eric Tabor will be running for five-year terms. Current board member Jody Lamphere is not seeking re-election.
    For information about the budget, visit the school district website at www.polandcs.org/education or call the Poland budget hotline at 826-0205.
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