A public hearing to discuss the Mount Markham Central School Districtís proposed 2009-10 budget is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 12, in the high school auditorium on Fairground Road, West Winfield.
Prior to the hearing, residents will receive by mail the districtís spring issue of the Panorama newsletter, which explains the budget proposal in greater detail.
The proposed $24.3 million budget carries a tax levy increase of 1.92 percent. The plan supports the boardís continued focus on improving literacy and math education and the integration of technology into classroom learning, all of which are geared toward helping graduates compete successfully in a global workforce.
The proposed tax levy increase includes a one percent tax levy increase from the districtís capital project now underway and a one percent tax levy increase for Herkimer BOCES capital improvements approved by voters this past December. Despite the addition of those project costs to the budget, their associated tax levy increases will be partially offset during the same year by the revenue those projects generate through state aid.
The budgetís overall impact on district taxpayers also has been offset, in part, by about $17.8 million in state aid and $487,130 in district reserve funds set aside by the board of education specifically to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
To help reduce budget expenditures, the district has joined with three other school districts to develop a new centralized business office at Herkimer BOCES next year. This office will enable the districts to share business services, thereby reducing their individual associated operational and personnel costs.
Other cost reductions include eliminating the equivalent of three full-time teaching positions through staff retirements. In addition to saving money, the reduced staffing also addresses a decrease in total student enrollment in recent years.
Among the districtís proposed budget expenditures is a $404,965 allocation to buy four new buses, although the districtís actual cost for that purchase will be only $40,497 due to state reimbursements for each new bus. The purchase continues the districtís bus replacement schedule aimed at improving fleet safety and reducing high maintenance costs.
District residents will vote on the budget from 1 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 19 in the elementary school cafeteria on Fairground Road, West Winfield. Two board of education seats also are up for election that day. Each seat carries a three-year term. Incumbent Tom Huxtable is running for re-election, but the other seat will be filled through a write-in vote, since neither incumbent board member Jack Kilty nor any other candidate filed to run by the filing deadline.
A copy of the proposed budget is available for review in the districtís main office. Questions or comments about the budget may be directed to that office or to board of education members by calling 315-822-2824 or visiting the districtís web site at www.mmcsd.org.