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Lockport school budget exceeds tax cap – for now

LOCKPORT – The preliminary budget for the Lockport City School District exceeds the state-mandated tax cap by $1.74 million, but a top administrator said Friday that she expects the problem will take care of itself before the Board of Education adopts the plan.

Deborah A. Coder, assistant superintendent for finance and management services, said in the wake of a discussion with the board members, “They made it known that the district would not be asking the voters to exceed the tax levy limit.” The district starts with a $94.3 million budget for 2016-17, which is the amount needed to maintain the status quo in terms of programs and personnel. It involves a spending increase of 3.79 percent from this year, and a tax levy increase of nearly $2.1 million, or 5.63 percent. The district’s tax cap for the upcoming year is 0.89 percent.

“The district is confident through retirements and additional state aid, we can eliminate the $1.7 million gap that currently exists in the preliminary budget,” Coder said in an email to The Buffalo News.

However, busing costs are expected to rise by an unknown amount as the district seeks new bids for transportation services. On the other hand, employee benefit costs are projected to fall by $616,000.