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Board approves $67.3 million budget; Spending plan is below tax cap1

The Sweet Home School Board this week unanimously adopted a $67.3 million budget for the 2012-2013 school year, which residents of the district will vote on at the polls on May 15.

The spending plan represents a 0.01 percent increase over the current year's budget and increases the tax levy by 2.78 percent over the current year. That falls below the local tax levy cap of 2.87 percent, which means the budget needs only a simple majority to pass.

Under the plan, the average tax bill for the owner of a home in Amherst assessed at $120,000 would increase by about $5 to $1,290. For a similar homeowner in the Town of Tonawanda, the tax bill would increase by about $6, for an annual tax bill of $1,289.

For the third year in a row, the adopted budget was trimmed by more than $2 million, including 27.6 positions that were cut.

Voters also will elect two board members, each to five-year terms. Incumbent board members Douglas J. Galli and Marianne Jasen will appear on the ballot along with challenger Jack I. Reich.

In addition, voters will decide whether to authorize spending $442,000 to purchase four passenger buses and vote on a proposition to expend $645,000 to update the district's technology and telephone infrastructures. The second proposition will have a zero percent tax impact and the cost will be reimbursed by the state.

The district vote will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Norman C. Vergils Community Center of Sweet Home High School, 1901 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.