Although it still has a way to go, the Cleveland Hill School District significantly narrowed its 2014-15 budget gap to $112,281 with two weeks to go before school board adopts a spending plan. District officials presented the current draft of its $30.7 million during a public hearing Wednesday night.
The draft represents a $585,573 spending increase, or 1.94 percent, over this year’s budget. District Business Manager Dennis Corsaro said the district plans to honor the state tax levy cap of a 1.46 percent increase.
The second draft of the budget maintains all program and staffing levels from the current year. In addition, a new special education instructor and teacher aide will be hired to handle additional students being taught in the district again after relying on outside programs in the past.
The proposed plan also earmarks about $15,000 for new musical instruments, the expansion of the summer school program to K-12, and minor club and intramural programs being reinstated.
The district’s original draft had a budget gap of $518,388, but administrators were able to save money by eliminating some requests. Items that did not make the cut include the denial of new staffing requests in the Buildings and Grounds department, as well as the purchase of a $32,000 tractor.
Cleveland Hill was able to save about $62,000 in support staff salaries due to some retirements and unfilled vacancies. Instructional salaries represent a 2.18 percent increase, totaling $10.2 million. Spending on BOCES services is also increasing by approximately $443,000, or 17.85 percent, due to the addition of new special education students in the district.
While the district still has to make up a budget gap of more than $100,000 before the planned budget adoption date of April 2, Corsaro said they are still looking to get some final revenue numbers that may provide an additional boost.
“We’re going to sit back and wait,” he said. “We don’t know what the final (aid) number from the state will be.”