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Tax increase projected for Lockport City School District budget

Residents of the City of Lockport School District may see a tax increase for the 2013-2014 budget. This proposed increase is; however, lower than the state tax cap limit.

During Wednesday’s board of education meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Finance Deborah Coder presented board members with a budget that would increase the levy 3.59 percent. Lockport can increase taxes by 5.04 percent and still fall under the tax cap limit.

The district needs to raise $35.7 million in taxes, which is a $1.2 million increase from the current school year. This increase is $501,392 lower than what is allowed by the tax cap limit.

The $83.2 million budget uses $38.4 in state aid, $2.4 million for its appropriated fun balance and $2.6 million in reserves.

Board members expressed concerns Wednesday on how “dangerously low” the reserve accounts now are, with six out of the seven funds to be at zero by the 2016-2017 school year.

Trustee Edward Sandell questioned if they should consider raising taxes to the 5.04 percent allowable limit, which would allow the district to not use as much from the reserve funds, “not taking as much from the future.”

A budget work session has been scheduled for March 6, to continuing reviewing the budget. The board then has until April to decide on the final numbers.

Coder said if they decide to decrease from the current 3.59 percent, they would have to begin to look at cutting programs and staff.

“We’ll continue to develop the budget,” said board President John Linderman. “It’s a work in progress”

The budget vote will take place May 21.

In other school news:

• Two residents spoke about the proposed Roy B. Kelley Elementary School access road, which, according to the district, would help alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety at the school.

One resident spoke on behalf of a number of RBK parents who would like to see the road.

The district is still seeking a final answer from the City of Lockport on whether the city would consider giving them Joseph E. Kibler Park. The road would be built from the back parking lot of the school through a small portion of the park.

The board asked the public to speak up if they are favor of the road and call city hall or contact their elected officials to make their voices heard.


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