Proposed Silver Creek School budget sees adjustment

OBSERVER Photo by Rebecca Cuthbert. Superintendent Todd Crandall looks on as Silver Creek Central student Gabriel Metzger explains how he won the American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics essay contest, with helpful nudging from Cheryl Smith, his science teacher, who knew Metzger could do it.

SILVER CREEK — Todd Crandall, superintendent of Silver Creek Central School, announced earlier this week that the proposed budget for the 2017-2018 school year has been adjusted.

“(District Business Administrator) Mrs. (Cindy) Mackowiak and I have updated the PowerPoint from two weeks ago. … It seems like our stance not to approve the budget (during the last meeting) paid off,” Crandall began, addressing the board. “I emailed everybody the information from the legislators; we had budgeted for approximately a $200,000 increase, roughly, from the governor’s proposal, and it came out just a little higher than that. Mrs. Mackowiak and I were comfortable with keeping that the same. We adjusted a couple of slides at the end (of the budget PowerPoint presentation) that talked about the … 1 percent versus a 1.5 percent (proposed tax levy increase).”

The proposed budget for the next academic year sits at $23,143,821, down 3.22 percent from the previous budget (2016/2017). The proposed tax levy is $6,034,951 — that’s the amount to be raised by taxes. That’s an increase of $59,752, or the 1 percent Crandall mentioned.

“That’s the only information we changed from (the last budget draft),” he said.

Crandall said he knows it’s difficult whenever taxes are raised, and administrators at the school tried to keep that in mind with this next budget.

“We recognize that any tax increase to the community is difficult. We believe we worked really hard on this year’s budget, compared to last year; in fact, we’ll be going out slightly less than we were last year with our overall budget — about $700,000 (or) $750,000 less than last year,” he said.

Board member Martha Howard made a comment that the numbers that went down are tied to how much money the district will get from the state, so it’s not all good news.

“It’s important to mention that the part of the budget that went down is the capital, which is planned. That’s our payments … when that goes down, the revenue from the state goes down, as well. So it’s not all the other things in our budget that went down. When the budget is lower like that, but you have a 1 percent increase, it’s because of all those other things in the budget that did not go down. The revenue went down to match this,” she said.

Mackowiak and Crandall agreed.

When it came to a vote, the proposed budget was passed by the board. Mackowiak and Crandall will take their “show on the road” Thursday to present the proposed budget at the Sheridan Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. (municipal building, Route 20, Sheridan). They will also visit other municipal board meetings and senior centers to give the same presentation in the coming weeks. Community members will have their say May 16 at the school itself, when they’ll vote on whether to pass the budget. Polls are open from 1 to 9 p.m.

The board also celebrated the win of eighth grader Gabriel Metzger, who won the American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics essay contest. Metzger was given an encouraging push from science teacher Cheryl Smith, who believed Metzger had the talent to take the blue ribbon — and the cash prize. Metzger not only pulled in a Benjamin for himself; he also brought home some money for the school.