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Williamsville schools budget stays at tax cap, reduces some class sizes

The Williamsville School Board unanimously adopted a budget with a 1.7 percent increase in spending, and will put it before voters on May 16.

The district stayed at the tax cap and maintained the current level of academic and extracurricular programming.

The proposed budget also:

  • Reduces class size for kindergarten through grade three.
  • Funds a new summer school program for high school students with special needs.
  • Adds a full-time special education teacher for a new high school class,
  • Adds an additional assistant principal at Williamsville North High School, to replace a retiring assistant administrator.

The only question mark remaining is how much state aid the district can expect. District administrators are anticipating a decrease of about $175,000. The budget totals $186.1 million

"As we all know the state has not passed a budget yet," said Thomas Maturski, assistant superintendent for finance. "At this point, the governor has provided legislation for an extender. What the extender actually does is it allows the state to pay bills related to this current school year but does not provide funding for school districts into the new school year."

The proposed budget calls for a $3.1 million increase in the tax levy, which is equal to the district's 2.67 percent state-imposed tax cap. It also carries a 1.42 percent increase in the tax rate, although that's expected to decrease slightly between now and August due to Amherst's townwide reassessment.

"The district does not get any additional revenue due to the Town of Amherst reassessment that is currently underway," Superintendent Scott Martzloff said. "New York State's tax cap law controls the increase for the actual tax levy at 2.67 percent. It's important for people to know the school district has no input into the town's reassessment."

There is a total increase in expenditures of $4.5 million, mainly due to contractual obligations, said Maturski.

"The employee salary amount represents the largest increase we have, almost $3.6 million," he said.

A revenue increase of $3.1 million is achieved almost exclusively through an increase in the tax levy.

The resulting budget shortfall of $1.4 million was eliminated through a retirement incentive offered to teachers.

"We were able to remove that shortfall by having salary expense reductions that were primarily done through the recent retirements," Maturski said.

A vote on the budget and election for three seats on the School Board will be held from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. May 16 in the Williamsville North High School gymnasium. There are now four candidates who have filed the necessary paperwork ahead of the April 17 deadline, according to the district clerk.

"It's your schools and your voice so we encourage all of our residents to come out," said Martzloff.

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