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Board of education approves budget proposal; residents to vote May 15

Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will vote May 15 on a proposed 2018-19 budget that includes funds for enhanced safety and security measures and maintains existing programming for students while holding the tax levy increase below the district’s tax levy limit.

On April 2, the F-M Board of Education approved a proposed budget of $82,898,692 that would increase spending by $2,169,754, or 2.69 percent, compared to the current 2017-18 school year.

State aid figures approved by the state Legislature show F-M’s foundation aid, which is the district’s base operating aid from the state, increasing in 2018-19 by $178,384. However, the district’s total state aid, including categories such as building and transportation aid, is decreasing overall by $250,907.

“Our community has told us in past budget vote exit surveys and community forums that they want student programming preserved, so we have kept that a priority throughout the budget development process,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We have also heard from our community that increased safety and security measures are paramount, and so we are including about $564,000 in the budget proposal specifically for that purpose.”

The two primary revenue sources for the district are state aid and the tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. Due to reductions in state aid over the last decade, the tax levy has continued to fund a greater share of the school budget. State aid would make up 22.8 percent of the district’s 2018-19 proposed budget while taxpayers would fund 74.4 percent.

The state’s foundation aid increase does not cover some of the district’s anticipated cost increases for the 2018-19 school year, such as a projected $97,000 increase in diesel fuel expenses and a $116,000 increase in workers’ compensation insurance, said William Furlong, F-M’s assistant superintendent for business services.

1.90 percent tax rate increase projected

Based on F-M’s proposed budget, the district estimates that for a town of Manlius home, the resulting tax rate increase would be 1.90 percent, or 49 cents per thousand of assessed value. That equals $48.69 on $100,000 of taxable value, which is a property’s assessed value minus any exemptions, such as STAR, and is the basis for what people actually pay.

The town of Manlius makes up 81 percent of the properties within the school district.

The total tax levy increase of 3.67 percent, or $2,278,198, is below the district’s tax levy limit, or cap, of 3.83 percent. The tax levy is just one factor, along with assessment rates and equalization rates, that figures into determining the tax rate, which is used to calculate what each property owner will ultimately pay in school taxes.

The tax rate increase is usually lower than the tax levy increase due to growth in the tax base.

Safety and security enhancements

The 2018-19 proposed budget includes about $564,000 to address enhanced security districtwide, including but not limited to:

  • Adding a school information and resource officer (SIRO) to its current staff of two full-time Manlius police officers serving the district. The district launched its SIRO program in 2012 with one officer and added a second officer for the current school year. Each of the officers spends time with students and staff at the district’s six school buildings offering advice, support and direction on a variety of topics, including drug abuse, violence, bullying and theft. The SIROs also participate in each school’s safety drills and reviews district safety and security plans.
  • Purchasing additional security cameras that would be installed across the district. The district already has cameras in multiple locations, including outside building entrances and at parking lots.
  • Purchasing new and more technology to facilitate faster communication within district buildings and between district vehicles and the transportation department.
  • Holding additional staff training to build upon safety and security trainings that have already taken place. During the 2016-17 school year, staff completed level one active shooter training, and on March 29, all staff participated in level two training, which focused on what employees should do in the event of an active shooter in a district building.

Community budget meetings

The district will be holding two community budget forums so residents may learn more about the proposed budget and ask questions.

  • April 10: 6:30 p.m., Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave, Manlius
  • April 19: 2 p.m., Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville