Budget proposal breaks tax cap

NORTHVILLE – The Northville Central School District school board has decided to ask voters to approve a 2014-15 school budget that breaks the state’s property tax cap.

According to a news release, the school board approved a $10.6 million 2014-15 spending plan that increases spending 3.24 percent from the current school year and will require a tax levy increase of more than 1.12 percent.

According to Sheldon Ginter, Northville Board of Education president, Northville’s tax cap for 2014-15 is 1.12 percent.

Northville Superintendent Debra Lynker said the tax levy may need to increase 3.8 percent.

In 2013-14, the district’s tax levy was estimated at $5.6 million. At current estimates the 2014-15 tax levy may need to increase by between $126,000 and $212,000, to a total of $5.8 million.

In May 2013, Northville Central School district voters approved a $10.2 million budget with a tax-levy increase of 4.95 percent, the maximum allowed under last year’s tax cap, which varies among districts. The budget was approved in a vote of 232-160.

Ginter said Northville will not be able to maintain adequate services for the 2014-15 school year without the increase to the tax levy.

“(With this budget,) we’ll be able to maintain and restore our programs,” Ginter said.

Officials said the tax levy increase is needed despite state aid to the district increasing 8.1 percent to $3.3 million, up from $3.1 million for 2013-14.

New additions to the school’s budget include a part-time Spanish teacher, a teaching assistant, a computer information officer, extra-curricular stipends, and a junior varsity softball and baseball league, along with reinstating modified softball and baseball.

Ginter said the tax levy was raised in part because the merger vote between Northville and Mayfield Central School failed, leaving the district to find a way to stay financially secure. In Janurary, Mayfield voters approved the merger, 386-273, but Northville voters rejected it, 670-309.

With this budget, a simple majority of votes will not be enough to permit the district to raise taxes by a higher percentage than the tax cap.

HFM BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel said 60 percent of school budget voters will need to vote in favor of the proposed budget for it to pass. If the budget doesn’t get 60 percent approval, the district will be able to put a second budget out for consideration. If the second budget fails the district will go to a contingency budget, which can not spend more money than the 2013-14 school budget.

The news release said the budget accounts for both cuts and additions to programing. The primary source for cuts is in BOCES costs for “high needs” special education students. According to Lynker, two high-needs students left the district.

Other additional costs to the district include benefits and a salary for the new superintendent.. Ginter said the new superintendent, Leslie Ford, will be receiving $125,000 a year, along with benefits. Lynker, previously was just paid a daily rate, totalling to less than $125,000 a year and did not receive.

The school budget vote will be May 20.