Bemus Point Approves 2014-15 School Budget

ELLERY – The final draft of the 2014-15 Bemus Point Central School District budget is a reduced version of the original.

On Monday, the Board of Education approved the final draft of its budget at an amount of $12,927,165 – $161,550 less than the $13,088,715 budget that was initially presented last month.

According to Michael Mansfield, superintendent, the overall budget amount was reduced because of the budget gap the district was facing under the initial amount combined with uncertainty in the amount of aid it would receive from the then-proposed executive budget at the state level.

“At that time, we had a budget gap of $266,212; and so we reduced (the budget) to the approved amount during our board meeting on April 7,” Mansfield said. “(By that time), we had $104,662 of additional revenue from the state budget.”

Despite the budget reduction, a budget gap still existed for the district. Mansfield said that gap would be closed through the elimination of two staff positions – an elementary teacher position due to retirement and a part-time secretary at Maple Grove Jr.-Sr. High School – as well as several other miscellaneous cuts to programs and services.

Additionally, a tax levy increase of 2.01 percent will help to close the gap, while staying within the confines of the state’s 2 percent tax cap limitation. This will also mean that residents of the district will be eligible for the new tax cap reimbursement program that was included in the state budget, which was approved April 1.

“(The levy increase) is within the 2 percent tax cap, so we only need a 50 percent majority vote from the community to keep residents eligible for the reimbursement program,” Mansfield said.

The Bemus Point budget, along with all other area school budgets, will be subject to a community vote on May 20. At that time, the district will also place a bus proposition in the amount of $245,000 before voters in order to purchase additional school buses and “similar vehicles.”

In other business, Mansfield said the board approved a new tuition policy that would allow parents living outside the district to send their children to Bemus Point Central School if they are willing to pay tuition and transportation costs accordingly.