By KERRY MINOR
GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District may go over the state-mandated tax cap for the 2016-17 school budget, even though there would be no increase in the tax levy.
The state uses a formula to determine each school district’s tax cap, and the district’s elimination of some debt led to a tax cap of minus 6 percent, district Assistant Superintendent Steve Schloicka said.
Schloicka said meeting the cap would require another $868,000 in cuts.
The district already has cut the proposed budget for 2016-17 to keep the tax levy from going up. Instead of decreasing the levy, the district could seek to override the tax cap, said Superintendent Michael Vanyo.
The board is currently looking at a proposed $60.9 million budget, a decrease from the $63.4 million 2015-16 budget.
Overriding the tax cap would require 60 percent voter approval when the public votes on the plan in May.
He said this would be the first time the district has tried to override the tax cap.
“When we go negative like that, it would take years to get back to where we were,” Vanyo said, referring to cutting the tax levy below a zero increase.
He said the district has been working hard to maintain its programs in this budget while not increasing the tax levy. Vanyo said the district also is trying to focus on raising its graduation rate.
He said the district has decided against filling five vacancies that were created by retirements.
Vanyo said declining enrollment at the high school also allowed the district to eliminate two positions.
Vanyo said some of the budget cuts include $10,000 from Board of Education contractual funds for travel and reduced summer guidance hours.
“Even though we got a significant amount of state aid, we still needed to make cuts in this budget just to get to where we are to balance it,” Vanyo said.
Schloicka said if the district needs to reduce the budget further to meet the minus 6 percent tax cap, it would have to cut programs such as art, music, intramurals and modified sports.
“Any program [the board] added or expanded would be gone,” Schloicka said.
Vanyo said most of the cuts would affect students in the middle and high schools because they include more electives and sports.
Vanyo said the school board would need to send any changes it would like to see this week.
The district will present its budget to the public April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education room at the district offices. The board will have the option to adopt the budget that night.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 3 at 6:30 p.m. The budget will go to a public vote May 17.
Kerry Minor covers Gloversville. She can be reached at [email protected]. com.