Initial projections in the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District indicate that taxpayers may see a small increase in taxes next year, but they’ll also receive a state rebate.
Tentative figures indicate a $33 million spending plan, with $15.3 million to be raised by taxes.
That represents a 1.63 percent increase in the tax levy, which district business manager Wayne W. Drescher noted allows qualifying homeowners in the district to receive a property tax freeze credit from the state.
Drescher provided a brief overview of the fiscal plan at Tuesday’s meeting of the School Board.
While there is a projected hike in taxes, Drescher is optimistic that the district will receive more state aid than what’s been announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“We’re really expecting more,” Drescher said. “If we get more, the tax rate will go down.”
Drescher noted that officials in school districts across the state are hoping to have funding restored after several years of harsh cuts from Cuomo.
Small increases exist on several budget lines but there are a few significant reductions.
For example, payment of serial bonds will drop dramatically next year as the district pays off the remainder from a capital improvement project that was funded in 1995.
The budget indicates the district spent nearly $1.7 million on serial bonds during the 2014-15 academic year, but will spend only $960,000 for 2015-16.
Other notable drops in spending are anticipated in the budget lines for the employees and teachers retirement systems.
Cuts were made where possible, and Superintendent Andrea Galenski expressed gratitude to the district’s employees for their work reducing costs.
“I’m proud of everyone in our district for working so hard to find ways to save,” Galenski said.
Cheektowaga-Sloan officials aren’t alone in hoping for some financial relief.
School boards across the state are hoping – and waiting – for news that some of the finances they’ve lost in recent years through the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment have been restored.
The adjustment, which took away millions of dollars from school districts, was introduced during the 2009 state financial crisis and remains in effect today.
In recent weeks, educators and residents have held rallies protesting the adjustment and calling for state lawmakers to restore funding.