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Williamsville schools looking at increase in proposed budget

Adding a math coach for teachers and a speech pathologist, reinstating team leader positions and enhancing supplies and communication are among changes being considered for Williamsville schools next year.

Superintendent Scott Martzloff outlined a proposal that would increase spending by $4.6 million or 2.59 percent, to $182.8 million in the 2016-17 school year. Most of the increase is due to contractual increases in salaries and benefits.

Some program enhancements would cost less than $30,000, such as new interscholastic sports, or adding summer work days for high school counselors. Others have higher costs, such as increasing the material and supply budget by $200,000, and evaluating the structure and funding of clubs and extracurricular activities, estimated at $100,000. None of the suggestions has been approved.

Martzloff said the district wants to make sure any enhancements will continue in the future.

“We don’t want to add something to the budget and then turn around one or two years later and remove it from the budget. We want a stable situation moving forward with any additions,” he said.

The district has seen some changes over the past five years, as it reduced the budget and contained costs to the tune of $13.65 million, he said.

“We’ve had a significant, significant number of reductions that have impacted both people and programs,” Martzloff said.

In addition to looking at the long-term sustainability of program enhancements, the board’s budget development goals include enhancing the educational program, drawing a multi-year strategy and complying with the state tax cap.

The state tax cap limits the options to increase revenue, the superintendent said. This year’s tax cap for the district will likely be in the 1 percent range, he said. If the district wanted to raise the tax levy above the tax cap, it would need 60 percent of voters to approve it.

The amount of state aid is still unknown, he said, and likely will remain that way until the end of March.

The superintendent said the district would continue to work on the budget and review state aid projections. Estimated revenues are to be included in the preliminary budget presentation on March 15.