It may be the worst budget ever.
Those words came from Jamestown School Superintendent Ray Fashano as he and other school officials went over the first draft of the proposed budget for 2006-07 Tuesday.
The spending plan is up nearly $4 million from this year. The current year's budget totals $58.6 million, while the proposed spending plan comes out to $62.5 million.
Assistant Superintendent Dale Weatherlow said that is a 6.7 percent increase, with a 9.7 percent tax levy increase.
Weatherlow gave the school board four options.
One would raise taxes 3.9 percent but include job cuts, including 10 janitors. That would also includes $405,000 in cuts and a $1.2 million dollar increase in the tax levy.
School Board President Joe Pawelski said fixed costs are going up, but it seems the state wants the school districts to do more with much less in school aid.
"Well the first impression is that, for the fourth year in a row now, state aid seems to be declining. As was addressed tonight, the cost for health care, fuel, transportation, everything seems to be going up. We don't seem to be getting much extra money from the state to cover those increases."
Pawelski said there is always hope that there may be an increase in state aid. The Assembly and State Senate have both proposed budgets different from Gov. George E. Pataki's that would include increased school aid. Pawelski said board members will meet again March 28 to hammer out the budget details.
"We will go over the budget options at that time. I haven't had a chance to look over the options. Obviously, the fourth option is rather draconian, where we're having so many cuts that it would affect the educational value of our school system."
Two other options would also involve major cuts, but would eliminate the need for a tax increase or actually lower the tax rate. The most drastic option, Weatherlow said, was too severe to even spell out.
Fashano said since 2002, the district has laid off 143 employees and has cut the budget by a total of $6.9 million.