JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown School Board has approved a tax reduction for the 2016-17 budget.
Tuesday night the board voted to reduce next year’s tax levy by $219,275, the amount that was raised for the current budget year.
The vote on the decrease was 6 to 1, with board member Nina Karbacka voting no. Karbacka felt that given the struggle the district is facing with providing a sound education for all students, the money would be better used toward programming.
“Our children need all forms of support. In staffing. In administration, In programs,” Karbacka explained. “And it’s a very small amount per household, yet that amount of money from every household can do some exciting things within the district.”
The move comes following an updated budget presentation by superintendent Tim Mains (pictured) that showed the district has $248,589 in additional state funding that will be applied to next year’s budget. Another $650,000 in additional state aid will be used to restore moneys taken out of the district’s reserves and fund balance to help balance the district’s initial budget, presented before the final state aid totals were known. Total spending for the proposed budget that was presented on Tuesday is now $79,390,513 – an increase of $1,452,242 from the current year’s spending plan.
Mains will present some final budget options to the school board on Tuesday, April 19. He said that will primarily involve what to do with the remaining $30,000 in additional state funding, adding that it’s unlikely the district will use any money from its fund balance for additional programming.
“I’ve been trying to build a fund balance,” Mains said. “The state will allow us to have up to a four percent fund balance. If we don’t spend anything in this budget out of fund balance, then our projections for the end of they [current] school school year is a little over three percent. I feel like we ought to steadily have that four percent amount. If we have more than four percent, then I’m very comfortable in saying yes, let’s commit that and lets spend that.”
One of the concerns brought forward by Mains and echoed by the school board during its March 10 meeting was the low fund balance the district has maintained in recent years. That also caught the eye of the state comptroller, who cautioned that the district needs to restore its fund balance to relieve fiscal stress.
Following the final budget adjustments that will be presented on April 19, the board will likely act on the final budget. The budget deadline for the school board is Friday, April 22.
Once approved by the board, the budget will then be presented to the public for review during a budget hearing on May 10. The budget vote, along with school board election, is scheduled for May 17.
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