Fredonia Central School District Superintendent Paul DiFonzo Tuesday said non-mandated programs will need to be cut if the budget and a proposal are defeated twice by voters. The first test will come when voters hit the polls on May 15.
"We've managed to keep expenses under control. ... We tried very hard to not cut programs. That was our number one priority, to keep all of our programs. ... Over the last three years, we've lost over $6 million in revenue," DiFonzo said, speaking of decreases in government funding.
"If the budget is defeated twice, we'll have to make cuts to anything that isn't mandated. That means every sport, art programs, music... we don't want that to happen," he added.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Fredonia Central Schools Superinten-dent Paul DiFonzo said programs will need to be cut if the budget and Proposal No. 2 are defeated by voters.
During the official budget presentation, DiFonzo and Business Administrator John Forbes also asked for support for Proposal No. 2, a wall reconstruction project in the natatorium. The project must be completed for safety reasons, DiFonzo said, with an estimated maximum cost of $200,000. DiFonzo said if the proposal is defeated, the money for the construction would have to come out of the general fund.
Forbes explained the district would be eligible for state building aid for the construction, but only if the proposal passed.
Forbes also said the amount of reserves required to comply with the Property Tax Cap Levy puts district reserves at risk of being depleted in two to three years.
Other discussion surrounded terminology sometimes used to discuss the tax cap.
Forbes said, "The New York state Property Tax Cap Levy is not a two percent tax cap for school districts."
He went on to explain the cap is based on a growth rate designated by the state, exclusions for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs), capital expenses and pension growth. Forbes also said the cap varies by district, can be higher or lower than two percent and could change from year to year.
Both Forbes and DiFonzo said the result of the formula published by the state totals a cap of 3.52 percent for the Fredonia school district.
DiFonzo said, "The cap may be different every year. It's based on a formula. If you look at the formula and go through it, the tax cap for Fredonia is 3.52 percent. So our budget meets the tax cap. We've worked hard on this since February by making cuts to bring the budget in line with the tax cap amount."
In other business:
Members discussed the ongoing process of changes to the Dignity for All Students Act.
Votes were cast related to several proposals to changes in the bylaws for the Chautauqua County School Boards Association (CCSBA), including a unanimous nay vote from the board to uphold term limits for the office of CCSBA presidents.
An additional election official was appointed to the budget vote on May 15.
CCSBA Honors Night will be held May 24 at the Chautauqua Suites Conference Center in Mayville. Reservations must be given to Wendy Heslink by May 11.
Absentee ballots for the annual budget vote are available in the district office.
Audit Committee meetings will be May 10 and May 17 in Room 600 at 5 p.m.
Policy Committee meetings will be held May 15 at 7 p.m. and May 29 at 5 p.m. in Room 600.
The next Board of Education Meeting will be held May 22 at 6:30 in Room 636.
The annual budget vote will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. in the high school cafeteria on May 15.