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2015-16 School Budget Nears Vote

By Jann Wiswall

School District voters have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday, May 19 on three 2015-16 budget propositions.

At a public hearing held Tuesday, May 12, District Superintendent Mark Ward and Elementary School Principal Connie Poulin presented the budget to an audience of four (plus media representatives) with the full school board and key administrative staff on hand.

The total proposed basic budget for all school operations is $11,620,182 (Proposition #1 on the ballot) and covers instruction (teachers and staff), employee benefits, central services, support services, operation and maintenance of the facility, student transportation, debt service, interfund transfers and BOCES services. $4,238,962 of the school’s revenues will come from federal, state and local funding sources. $500,000 in revenues comes from the appropriated fund balance. The rest, $6,881,220, comes from the real property tax levy on taxpayers.

As Ward explained during the hearing, taxpayers will see a 4.2 percent increase in their school tax: 2.3 percent of that is a result of the two capital projects voters approved over the last two years and 1.9 percent is to cover the increased costs of operations and instruction.

Because the latter number falls under the 2 percent tax cap, eligible taxpayers will receive full rebates of their tax increase in the fall per the State Property Tax Freeze Credit.

Proposition #2 asks voters to approve the lease of two new school buses at a cost of $32,200 for each of the next five years.

Proposition #3 asks voters to approve a $29,943 appropriation for Ellicottville Memorial Library (EML). This year’s budget request represents a $1,027 increase to EML over last year. If voters do not pass the proposition, the library will receive last year’s appropriation. Please note: In New York, free libraries are permitted to use the school budget voting mechanism to request taxpayer assistance for their independent operations. The library receives these monies directly – not through the school.

Finally, voters also have the opportunity to re-elect Connie Hellwig to the School Board. Hellwig is running unopposed for a second five-year term on the board.

The May issue of the ECS Newsletter contains a 12-page “Budget Bulletin” detailing all proposed expenses and revenues, along with the board’s rationale for new spending, tax implications and much more valuable data. The newsletter with bulletin insert is viewable on the school’s website at

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