District weighs tax hike

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District could increase the tax levy by up to 8.9 percent under the state’s tax-cap formula in the district’s 2013-14 budget.

District Business Director Alice Sise said today that officials at the meeting Thursday only talked about increasing the tax levy by 2 percent or 3 percent.

In a budget review session Thursday, school board members also made some budget cuts. The district is switching the retirees’ health care plan to a Medicare Advantage plan to save $275,000 and eliminating pre-kindergarten transportation to save $75,000.

The district also will not create a half-time art teacher position and will not create a clerical worker position.

Sise said the district could increase the tax levy – the amount of money raised in property taxes – to $7.9 million.

Superintendent Robert DeLilli said nothing in the 2013-14 budget proposal is definite at this time.

According to a projection of revenue by Sise, the school is looking to have more than $26.7 million in revenue for 2013-14. That is an increase of more than $750,000 over the revenue from the 2012-13 school year.

Sise said some of the items on the revenue list come from reimbursements on expenses, such as expenses related to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, costs for certain students, hardware and technology, transportation, software, library and textbooks.

Sise said the district is estimating increases in expenses, including $44,500 for a new instructional position and almost $600,000 for health insurance costs.

The district is still waiting for information regarding BOCES rates, insurance costs, attorney fees, workers’ compensation and special-education costs.

DeLilli said the board has to wait for the state to pass its budget before the district knows how much it will receive in state aid.

Under the governor’s budget proposal, the district could receive $17 million in state aid, an increase of $650,470.

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