MANLIUS – The Bureau Valley School Board adopted their Fiscal Year 2014 budget on Monday.
Superintendent Dennis Thompson called the budget a conservative look at the year’s anticipated expenses and income.
The total expenditures are projected at $13,994,632, while revenue shows a total of $13,272,305, which falls short by $722,327.
The district plans to make up the deficit using money from working cash bonds.
While the district was in a scramble last year after having sold $3 million worth of working cash bonds and having to find ways to make it last three years, Thompson confirmed the district only used $600,000 of that money last year, and after this year, it’s anticipated that about $1.54 million will remain in the working cash fund.
The good news is the district has increased its tax rate from $3 million to $3.175 million.
“That’s primarily contributed to flat increases in real estate and increase in farming land values,” Thompson said. “(We) are one of the only districts that has had an increase in income from their own taxing body.”
Other good news for the district is state aid is anticipated to increase from $2.73 million to $2.76 million.
In other news, during public comment at the meeting, BV North kindergarten teacher Valerie Peterson spoke out about her concern with the district’s financial situation.
She said her concerns arose after last month’s meeting when discussion was held about the possibility of having to cut programs not mandated by the state; specifically art and music programs.
“Our music and art programs are just really exceptional programs. They are not fluff,” she said. “We all know the research that has been done on the effects of the brain on art and music and how it stimulates the brain and our programs do that. It’s not just cutesy.”
Peterson pointed out the number of ribbons and awards students have won at art shows and programs.
“And community members, who don’t have children, tell me how they go to our choir concerts because they are enjoyable,” she said.
Peterson pointed out how the new common core standards are also pushing creativity and looking outside the box on problem solving, which the art and music programs can help students achieve.
“I think we would really feel some bad effects if we lost those programs,” she said.
It was also pointed out how families who live in the district but work outside the district choose to live in the area because of the quality education their student receive at BV.
“I’m afraid if we did cut those program, many people would choose to go somewhere else,” Peterson said.
Board member Rick Cernovich thanked Peterson for addressing the board and assured her the board is “committed to a strong liberal arts program and are aware of the benefits the fine arts bring.”
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.