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Royalton-Hartland school board to unveil $22.9 million budget for next year

MIDDLEPORT – The Royalton-Hartland Board of Education will present its proposed $22.9 million budget for 2015-16 at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the high school, 54 State St.

“We want to be thoughtful in providing quality programs and services and mindful of our taxpayers as well,” said Superintendent Roger Klatt.

“We were able to remain within the legal tax cap limit and meet the efficiency plan savings on the tax levy, so the tax credit will continue for our residents.”

Klatt explained that while the 2015-16 budget includes an estimated 47-cent tax rate hike per $1,000 of assessed value for the residents of the towns of Royalton, Hartland, Lockport, Ridgeway and Shelby who live in the school district, “eligible residents will receive a rebate check to reimburse them for their increase in property taxes between the 2013-14 budget and proposed 2015-16 budget.”

The proposed tax rate for these towns is $22.83 per $1,000, according to Kelly Griffith, the district’s business administrator.

Griffith added that the proposed tax rate under the new budget for the handful of district residents who live in the Town of Alabama in Genesee County is $23.54 per $1,000, an increase of 48 cents, because that town does not have a 100 percent equalization rate at this time.

The tax levy is expected to rise $202,048, or 2.1 percent, in the proposed 2015-16 budget to $9,841,700, she reported, which is its limit under the tax cap.

The overall proposed budget of $22,975,776 reflects a $611,890 increase in spending over the current budget, largely attributed to mandated special education programs and services, Griffith noted.

The estimated costs of special education programs and services are expected to account for $470,000 of the increase.

“The main areas of the budget increases are the response to mandated special education programs and services, and an increase in BOCES programs and services,” Klatt said. “The district realizes a return on investments the following year for the BOCES services, with state aid reimbursement.”

Klatt is finishing his second year as a shared superintendent between Roy-Hart and Barker schools, and both school boards recently approved an agreement for a third year. They also approved another one-year agreement to share a director of technology, James Luckman. Luckman is finishing his first year in this arrangement.

The two districts also share football and wrestling programs, some special education services, and transportation when possible, Klatt said.

“We continue to look at reducing costs through shared services,” he said.

Residents will vote on the proposed budget from noon to 8 p.m. May 19 in the Roy-Hart High School gym.

They also will elect two new Board of Education members. Newcomers Carrie Choate and Chad Owen are running for election for the seats held by board president Patricia Riegle and Sandra Hoerner, who both decided not to run for re-election. Riegle has served as president for 11 of the 12 years she has served on the board, while Hoerner is finishing her first term.