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Oswego School Officials Continue To Trim Budget

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego School Board continues to tweak the tentative 2012-13 spending plan.

There will be a budget discussion at the April 17 board meeting. The board will vote on the superintendent’s spending plan at the meeting.

The district wound up losing $635,000 in state funds from the original budget proposal by the governor, Superintendent Bill Crist pointed out Tuesday night.

“That has brought some hardship to us,” he said.

Crist’s budget proposal has been decreased by $850,000 from the original budget from March 20.

“We went back to 2009-10 and 2010-11 to look at the expenditure side of the budget,” Crist told the board members. The superintendent and his budget administrators held off on some purchases until the end of the year and made some other adjustments.

Some actual expenses were found to be less than what he had first budgeted. The budget proposal has been adjusted accordingly, he added.

The savings that they would find in the reduction of electric and a reduction in hospital, medical would bring the total reduction to just over $2 million.

“With that, we were able to bring into a focus a budget that is more in line with the board’s interest and able to get the job done that we need to for the school district to function,” Crist said.

The district’s current budget is $74,744,748. The proposed spending plan is now $76,744,263 (an increase of about $1.9 million).

Crist is proposing using $1,600,000 from the appropriated fund balance toward the 2012-13 budget.

“I think this is a responsible use of the appropriated fund balance. Part of that would be from surplus,” he said.

The tax impact on the levy for 2011-12 is $19.15 (per $1,000); a rough estimate for the next school year would be $18.96, the superintendent said.

“The tax rate is the result of a calculation involving three pieces of information. The only piece that we control is the tax levy. The other portions are the finalized assessments (set by assessors on July 1) and the equalization rates (set by the NYS Office of Real Property Services by Aug. 15). All else remaining equal, a lower tax levy will result in a lower tax rate,” Crist pointed out.

Going back to the 2005-06 school year you won’t see a levy lower than what the district is proposing for next year, he added

The board hopes the superintendent comes back with an even leaner spending plan for them to vote on April 17.

The budget plan will be available for public review on April 20. By law, the district must have another hearing on the budget on May 8.

The budget vote and board elections will take place on May 15. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.