On May 16, Marcellus Central School District voters approved the district’s $34.4 million 2017-18 budget proposal and elected two Board of Education members.
Approved a $34,392,500 budget for the 2017-18 school year that increases spending 2.97 percent ($999,227), and carries a 1.98 percent tax levy increase: 527 yes, 213 no.
Approved the purchase of four school buses and one passenger van at a cost no greater than $262,074: 545 yes, 195 no.
Re-elected one Board of Education and voted in one newcomer: Dr. David Locastro (504 votes) and Margaret Vensel (612 votes). They will serve three-year terms starting July 1.
Approved the establishment of a capital reserve fund to which the district may add surplus funds, up to $5 million, over a 10-year period: 526 yes, 211 no.
Approved an annual budget increase of $10,062 for Marcellus Free Library: 510 yes, 229 no.
“I want to thank all our residents who found time in their busy schedules to get to the polls today,” Superintendent of Schools Michelle L. Brantner said. “A school district is only as strong as the community that supports it, and tonight in Marcellus we’re feeling that support.”
The 2017-18 tax levy increase of 1.98 percent was the largest increase the district could have passed with approval from a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of voters, per the state’s property tax levy limit law. The law requires each school district to calculate its own levy limit based on a complex, multi-step formula. Any increase above this limit would have required approval of a supermajority, or at least 60 percent of voters. The 2017-18 budget was approved by 71 percent of voters.
Administrators reduced the tax levy increase – or the amount of revenue raised through property taxes – by employing a number of strategies, including:
Allocating $1,349,439 in reserve funds.
Sharing transportation services with Cortland City School District, for the busing of special needs students.
Returning some administrative services from BOCES to the district.
Continuing to work with the Central New York Health Consortium, to find ways to reduce the district’s cost for employee benefits.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank the Marcellus voters for approving next year’s budget,” said board President Ryan Riefler. “Thanks to their support, Marcellus can continue its mission of preparing students to be productive citizens of a 21st century world.”