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Fulton School Board adopts 2012-2013 budget, but vote is not unanimous

FULTON, NY – The Fulton School Board adopted the 2013-14 budget Tuesday night. It will be voted on by the public next month.

After not receiving the expected aid from the state, the superintendent had to go back through the previous draft line by line and reassess spending.

The $65.26 million budget is the basic spending plan for the next school year.

To make up for the money not provided by the state, there is a proposed 1.5% tax levy increase, and $1.5 million will be taken from reserve funds.

“This is a sustainable budget,” said Superintendent Bill Lynch.

The budget was not adopted unanimously. The vote was 4 yes, 2 no, and 1 abstention.

The board members who voted against the budget were concerned about the tax levy increase.

“I would rather see us take 1.8 out of the fund balance,” said board member Brian Hotaling. “And not have an increase to the tax levy.”

In recent years as the state hasn’t given as much money to school districts, the diligence of past boards that made sure reserve funds were built up has kept Fulton City School District afloat.

“We’ve been through a lot of challenges over the last five years. One of the things that’s allowed us to move forward as we have…is our fund balance and our reserves,” said Lynch. “There are a lot of school districts around us who don’t have that benefit.”

Lynch explained that that budget basically outlined a spending plan, and estimated revenue plan.

The tax levy will not be set until August, after the 2012-13 school year is complete.

At this time the superintendent will be able to see if the district has money left over from the current school year, which could lead to a lesser increase in the tax levy.

The adopted budget will be presented to the registered voters of the community on May 21.

School board elections will take place on the same day.

There will be a public hearing concerning the budget on May 8 at 7 p.m. at Lanigan Elementary School.

If the budget is not approved on May 21, there will be one more vote during which the board can propose the same budget again, with or without changes, or move to the contingency budget. If the adopted budget is voted down twice, then the contingency budget is automatically adopted.