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Budget Talks: Newfane School District

For the first time in five years, modified sports would be restored to the Newfane School District if the public votes to adopt the proposed 2016-17 spending plan.

The public will have a chance to review the spending plan during a public hearing at 7 p.m. May 3 in Newfane Early Childhood Center, 6048 Godfrey Road.

In addition to the $30,000 set aside for the restoration of modified sports for seventh- and eighth-graders, the proposed budget also includes $75,000 for the restoration of equipment funding, and $100,000 for professional development funding for staff in all grades, according to Superintendent Michael Baumann.

This will be accomplished with a proposed drop in the tax levy of about half a percent. Baumann added that the district plans to maintain current staffing levels.

“We believe that this is a fiscally responsible budget that restores some programs and manages to keep the tax levy at an acceptable level for our community,” said Baumann, who is serving his first year as superintendent.

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Proposed budget

• Proposed total budget: $33,887,072, up 0.8 percent

• Proposed tax levy: $12,960,798, down 0.5 percent

• Tax levy increase allowed under cap: 0.59 percent

• Planning to go over tax cap: No.

• What could be cut: If the budget did not pass, there would be no impact, because this is essentially the same budget as the current year, according to Baumann, up less than 1 percent.

• What could be added: Planned additions include restoration of modified sports, equipment funding and professional development funding.

• What is a tax levy?

The tax levy is the total amount in taxes collected from property owners.

• What is the tax cap?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo instituted the tax cap three years ago to help control local taxes.

It is billed as a 2 percent tax cap but is actually based on the rate of inflation. Each district’s cap is different because of a complicated formula and can be higher or lower than 2 percent. Districts need 60 percent of votes – called a supermajority – to approve a budget that goes over the tax cap. They only need one vote over 50 percent for a budget below the tax cap to pass.

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Voters go to the polls May 17 to approve or reject the budget and also vote on the propositions and candidates for the School Board.

– Teresa Sharp, Niagara correspondent