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Olean City School District budget set for vote

OLEAN – Olean City School District voters will be looking at a total budget of $37.6 million when they head to the polls May 21. That will bring with it a tax levy increase of 2.8 percent. Just a few weeks ago, that levy increase was 3.75 percent.

“Due to the district receiving the additional state aid from the Gap Elimination Reduction and the reinstatement of the building aid, we were able to reduce the tax levy,” Superintendent Colleen Taggerty said.

That additional aid has also saved the district from having to do something that no one wanted to do. The district prekindergarten program was scheduled to be cut from a full day to half days, taking with it instructional and non-instructional positions.

The new funding will allow the program to maintain its full-day status. Some undisclosed positions within the district will also be retained.

In addition to the funding from the state, the district has also opted to use approximately $294,000 in reserve funds to balance the budget and lower the tax levy.

As with students throughout the state, the Olean district has just wrapped up testing that has generated a bit of groundswell around the Common Core, a set of national educational standards developed by dozens of states to set out goals for the types of skills students should learn in math and English by each grade level.

Taggerty said her school had 100 percent involvement in the testing. Students may not have anything to lose by not taking the test, but the district is mandated to have a 95-percent participation rate, she continued.