Nicole A. Elliott Staff writer
ORISKANY — During Monday’s public hearing on the proposed 2012-13 budget of $13,454,307, which calls for a $506,964, or 3.92 percent spending increase, Superintendent Gregory K. Kelahan explained to residents that the proposed budget does not include any lay-offs, because although the district will lose its own technology teacher, it will replace him with a half-time BOCES position.
Reductions included in the proposed budget are: a half-time elementary teacher due to declining enrollment; a technology teacher due to restructuring of the technology program; a half-time art teacher (BOCES) due to restructuring of the elementary art program; 0.6 business teacher (BOCES); 0.6 Spanish (BOCES); 0.4 French teacher (BOCES).
Sabrina Skinner, of 6827 Liberty St., in Rome, questioned how the district could claim it was not losing or laying off teachers when "somebody is still losing their job." Skinner said, adding, "we don’t want to lose our teachers...they’re like a part of our family."
Kelahan said that while the district does not yet know who BOCES will hire for the half-time technology position, there is still the possibility that the teacher could be re-hired for the position by BOCES. Projected enrollment for the 2012-13 school year is estimated at 679.
Earlier Kelahan told the five residents in attendance, "Due to a loss of children at the elementary, we feel it necessary to shift" one teacher "to a half-time position and a half-time art teacher."
Kelahan said officials also felt the district needed a shift in electives offered to high school students from technology toward business. The district is also refocusing its language program to have a concentration on Spanish, but will also continue to offer Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language. Other additions included in the spending plan are: one business teacher; one Spanish teacher; a 0.2 French teacher; and 0.5 art teacher.
Business Administrator Robert B. Mezza Jr. they are losing about $160,000 in grant monies from the federal Education Jobs Fund. Mezza also explained that the district had originally budgeted an increase in health insurance, but just learned it had under-estimated.
The business administrator also explained there was a reduction in the transportation budget for 2012-13 because the district chose to purchase a small bus rather than a full-sized 66-passenger bus.
A shift in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding will also hold the tax levy, or amount to be raised through property taxes, at 0 percent, Mezza said. The proposed tax levy is $5,129,470, an actual budget-to-budget increase of $215,000, or 4.37 percent. The district’s allowable tax levy increase was 4.57 percent.
Projected 2012-13 tax rates per $1,000 valuation based on a home valued at $75,000 and the estimated total increase/decrease are as follows:
Rome: $31.03, a $1 decrease; Whitestown: $32.58, a $19 increase; Floyd: $24.39, a decrease of $68; and Marcy: $31.67, a decrease of $29.
The vote on the 2012-13 Oriskany Central School budget will be held noon to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 at the high school.