SHERMAN - If approved by voters, Sherman residents should expect a 4.12 percent increase in school taxes for the 2014-15 year.
Sherman Central School District recently approved a budget for the 2014-15 school year of nearly $9.5 million. The budget includes an increase of 4.12 percent or .75 cents per $1,000 in the tax levy.
Total revenues of the $9,462,718 budget increased 5 percent, while expenditures were up 4.77 percent. The district used 4.13 percent of its undesignated fund balance to offset the increases.
The tax increase was less than the district could have legally imposed, said superintendent Kaine Kelly. "This budget is once again below our legally allowable tax levy limit while increasing critical services to our students," he said. "We were able to accomplish our goals of being fiscally responsible to our constituents while providing the best possible education for our students."
Kelly said the district was able to not only maintain current programs, but to restore some positions that had been cut and also transform the half-day kindergarten into a full-day. This was made possible through restoration of funds from the state's Gap Elimination Assessment, as well as consolidating and restructuring some departments and programming.
Kelly applauded the work of State Sen. Catherine Young and State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell for their work in restoring some of the funds lost through the GEA.
"While there is still much work to be done, because GEA funds were only partially restored and there are still grave inequities in the state aid funding formulas, I am confident that they (Young and Goodell) will continue to work on behalf of the poor rural school districts," he said.
In other business, Kelly reported that the district is currently using the sports fields at Ripley Central School District since the fields at Sherman are still saturated from the weather.
Kelly also told the board that there is a good possibility that BOCES will use Sherman as a location for driver's education classes.
He also showed the board a short presentation from BOCES regarding its plans for a capital campaign. BOCES has four campuses in need of repairs, he said. Unlike school districts, however, BOCES cannot levy taxes and must rely on school districts for financing.
Kelly chose the presentation on the Raymond P. Hewes Education Center which is in critical need of repair. Several of the center's systems need upgraded or replaced, including its fire alarm; pool treatment and flow system; ventilaton; and its digital control system. "It's not just a bunch of frills. They are at a point where they are looking to do necessary repairs to keep the building open," he said.