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Bureau Valley finds a way

MANLIUS – A small chunk of Bureau Valley’s financial burden has been lifted.

On Monday, Superintendent Dennis Thompson provided news that next year’s budget will see about $265,000 of increased revenue and about $475,219 in budget cuts. That revenue will come from taxes due to the district’s increased equalized assessed valuation, and the other $65,000 is projected from student registration and books fees.

The $475,219 worth of budget cuts includes reducing the special education program, reducing the industrial arts and home economics positions to part-time due to low enrollment numbers, releasing one tech support employee, phasing out the German language program, reducing one physical education employee, dropping out of freshman and sophomore tournaments for volleyball and boys and girls basketball, retiring two teachers and changing the staff insurance coverage to a higher deductible plan.

At last month’s meeting, board member Kent Siltman, who is on the Finance Committee, reported a $700,000 in savings each year would be needed to allow the remaining $1.5 million in working cash bonds to last two years.

The district sold $3 million of bonds last summer, which was meant to last three years. However because of many setbacks, the district was forced to use half of the bond money to support the current fiscal budget.

Thompson said they hope to end up only using $1 million in next year’s budget, which is still considerable, but better than the whole $1.5 million that was originally expected.

“When I talked to the teachers, I said we needed a big change, not a little change,” he said. “This should be a significant change.”

The question still lingering at Bureau Valley is whether the bond money will be enough to support the next two years.

“I’m more confident. I still can’t answer you definitively to say we will make three years ... I’m saying we are getting more confident that we can probably make that choice, and we will be in a better position this year and next year,” Thompson said.

Board President Keith Bolin said he was surprised the budget was able to shed the amount. He admitted he had doubts. He commended Superintendents James Whitmore, Thompson and the Finance Committee for its work.

“It’s my belief that in July 2015 we will have to (sell bonds) one more time,” he said “I think the new board will have a debate and discussion to look at the taxes and see … whether a referendum will have to be looked at down the road.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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