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Budget vote to be held May 15; public hearing scheduled for May 7

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 2017-18 school year. The estimated tax rate increase is 1.90 percent for a property in the town of Manlius, which makes up the majority of the district.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed spending plan during its 6:30 p.m. May 7 board meeting in the Eagle Hill Middle School auditorium.

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 and a $116,000 increase in workers’ compensation insurance, said William Furlong, F-M’s assistant superintendent for business services.

The total tax levy increase of 3.67 percent, or $2,183,198, 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.

OTHER PROPOSITIONS ON THE MAY 15 BALLOT

School board candidates

F-M residents will elect three members of the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education. Three candidates filed nominating petitions for the available seats: Marissa Joy Mims, Sharon Lindars and Daniel Seidberg. Information about the candidates may be found online.

Bus replacement proposition

Voters will have the opportunity to decide on the purchase of four new 71-passenger school buses, one 35-passenger bus and one Suburban at a total cost not to exceed $639,005. Each of the vehicles proposed to be replaced is at least 10 years old and has been driven an average of 148,155 miles. The state would reimburse the district over a five-year period for about 71 percent of the cost of the new vehicles. Local property taxes would pay the remainder of the cost, which would be $36,934 annually for five years.

Student board of education member proposition

On May 15, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the F-M Board of Education will continue the practice of including a non-voting student member. Voters must reauthorize the measure every two years, and two students have held the position since voters authorized the position in 2016.

There is no financial compensation for any board member, including a student member, for serving on the board of education. The student member would attend all public board meetings and be allowed to participate in all public discussions and voice his or her opinions. The student member would not be allowed to attend executive or exempt sessions, which are portions of the meeting in which the law allows board members to privately discuss such matters as proposed, pending or current litigation.
If approved, the board would appoint an F-M High School senior who has attended the school for at least two years prior to the appointment for the 2018-19 school year.

Library propositions

Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will have the opportunity to vote on two library propositions: one to levy and collect a tax in the amount of $1,824,396 for the Fayetteville Free Library and the other to levy and collect a tax in the amount of $1,325,343 for the Manlius Library. If voters approve the propositions, the school district would annually levy and collect taxes in the new amount for the libraries beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year. The amount authorized for library services is listed as a separate line on residents’ tax bills.