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Frontier school budget adopted on 6-1 vote

Frontier Central School Board members adopted a $77.03 million budget for 2015-16 on a 6-1 vote Tuesday night.

Board Member Davis Podkulski, taking his first budget vote, was the lone “No” vote. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,” he said.

Last year’s vote on the budget was 4-3.

The board met Monday night and hammered out some additions to the budget: three contingent teaching positions that would be filled if enrollment warrants it; a nurse, nurse practitioner and two part-time cleaners. The board shifted about $306,000 from the health insurance appropriation to pay for the restored positions.

Podkulski said the superintendent’s plan for eliminating the nurse practitioner position would have distributed the duties, and he was concerned about taking money from the health insurance line.

“It becomes a risk,” Podkulski said. “I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking.”

Board Member Janet MacGregor Plarr said the insurance line is overfunded this year, and next year was to go up $2 million.

“I questioned that from Day 1,” she said. “Maybe the plan will work, maybe the plan will not work. I don’t want to roll the dice.”

The discussion was not as lengthy or contentious as the one board members had Monday night, when four board members said they would not vote for the budget unless the changes were made.

“It’s crazy that this became an issue after we talked about it yesterday,” Board Member Thomas Best Jr. said.

The changes do not affect the bottom line of the proposed 2015-16 budget.

Spending is up 3.72 percent, and the property tax levy of $36.22 million is up $769,152, or 2.12 percent higher than this year. The tentative tax rate is $26.52 per $1,000 of assessed value for Hamburg, up 1.88 percent, and $23.46 per $1,000 for Eden, up 1.91 percent.

There are 9.83 fewer positions districtwide, while four teaching positions will be added to the middle school. The print shop will transition to a copy center, with the reduction of two staffers.

The board also approved another proposition, to spend up to $881,353 to purchase buses.

Voting on the budget and the bus proposition will take place May 19.