District eyes $59M budget in 2013-14

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District announced Tuesday the projected 2013-14 budget would total about $59 million.

Steve Schloicka, assistant superintendent of the business office, said the projected 2013-14 budget total represents a roughly $3 million increase over the 2012-13 budget.

Schloicka said the tax levy could, at most, be upwards of $14 million, which would be an increase of $500,000, or roughly 4.34 percent.

“Now, that’s what we could raise the levy to if we chose to,” Schloicka said.

However, Schloicka and board members agreed they are going to strive to keep any increase to less than 2 percent.

Board of Education President Pete Semione said he believed it was possible.

“I think it’s very manageable. We have been planning on this and building on this for the last three or four years when the hard cap was first introduced,” Semione said. “We have been kind of structuring budgets and contracts according to that.”

“What our plan is, hopefully, is to keep it under [the 2 percent tax cap] without eliminating any programs or classes. We think we can do that, but the question is if we want to increase some of our programming and what effect it would have on the budget,” Semione said.

Schloicka said the revenue projections are not complete yet. However, revenues could increase by as much as $700,000 thanks to state aid increases in the budget proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Schloicka also announced that Gap Elimination Adjustment for 2013-14 has gone down to $1.38 million dollars, removing that sum from aid to the school. According to information from the R.G. Timbs Advisory Group, this would equal to $734 per student being taken away.

“Although we are probably one of the more fortunate districts in that we planned ahead for this, still, it’s going to hit us,” Schloicka said. “We are going to be in the same shape as many of the districts around us if this does not stop.”

In 2010-11, $2.2 million was removed through the elimination adjustment, with $3.1 million removed in 2011-12, before dropping down to $2.1 million lost in 2012-13.

Schloicka also said the expense for non-instructional costs has risen by 4.1 percent, which includes health insurance costs and other benefits.

However, this is not set in stone, Schloicka said, and the rates could be better than the estimates.

Schloicka mentioned five years ago, budget time was extremely difficult.

“As you know, about five years ago, when I first came here, basically our fund balance was almost nothing, and we were having a hard time passing budgets. And you can see from 2008-12 that, the past 4 years, we have roughly spent 97 to 98 percent of our budget a year, which has left us a surplus with which we will be able to move forward,” Schloicka said. “As you know, we planned for the fiscal crisis, which has happened, and we have been very conservative with our budgets.”