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East Aurora school budget has 2.91 percent increase in tax levy

The East Aurora School Board agreed to send voters a $31.7 million spending plan for 2014-15, calling for a 2.91 percent increase in the tax levy, the maximum allowed under the tax cap.

Jobs and programs were cut to achieve the budget, including six teaching positions, one custodial job and one technical position, two aides and a part-time clerical staff.

School Board President Daniel Brunson noted that the six full-time teaching positions were the equivalent of a number of positions that were cut partially – in effect, impacting more than six faculty posts.

Six faculty retirements helped alleviate the potential for layoffs, Superintendent Brian Russ said.

Some of the biggest program changes are in the fourth-grade music and high school physical education programs.

Originally eliminated, the fourth-grade orchestra was saved by shifting instrumental lessons to before-school hours.

At the high school, the physical education program has been trimmed by allowing athletes in 11th and 12th grades to be exempt from physical education, providing they participate in two varsity sports.

One piece of the plan not ironed out was an initiative that called for the end of tuition-free education for the children of nonresident staffers. Faculty members who live in Chaffee and Buffalo pleaded to the board, saying how the proposed $2,000 annual fee would be disastrous to their families.

Last year, the district charged out-of-district students who are not the children of faculty about $9,000 each.

Brunson said the superintendent is working to find a compromise on the issue.

Earlier in the budget process, the change in policy was suggested as a way to help fill the district’s budget gap for next year.

The change would net $36,000 in revenue for the district. The district has scheduled a budget hearing at 7 p.m. next Wednesday in the Middle School library.