Budget for O-A schools avoids cuts
Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As neighboring school districts decide on who and what to cut in order to balance their budgets, the Owego-Apalachin Central School District only has to consider its tax levy. Superintendent Dr. Bill Russell is proposing a $42 million budget that leaves programs and staff intact, and describes as a "modest" tax levy increase for residents. District administrators achieved this through a combination of a nearly 4 percent increase in state aid and long-term planning. He says during the past few years, the district has managed their reserves and fund balance. They also cut nearly 45 positions two years ago, which helped to balance subsequent budgets. "This is a balanced budget in every sense of the word," Russell told the board Thursday evening. "We are required by law to have a balanced budget, where revenue beats our expenditures, we can't have a deficit. I believe we have met all of our budget goals." Russell says residents will most likely see a tax levy increase of 1.59 percent, which is the district's maximum allowable tax levy limit and the levy they have calculated their budget at. Last year the district passed a budget that did not increase the tax levy. Russell says this year's increase is needed because of rising costs for state mandates. The district will also dip into their reserves 20 percent more next year to combat increases in costs of the teacher retirement system and the employee retirement system.