Plan would cap school district contingency budgets

But the district says it had little to do with figuring the contingency budget, and it simply adhered to guidelines set in state law.

"We followed the law as it stands. If they want to change the law, we'll follow that," said Superintendent Eric Ely.

Ely said that the school district has experienced an 800-student increase in enrollment over the past two years, in part because of charter school closures and fluctuating populations. While the enrollment study predicted a large enrollment increase, he maintains it was accurate.

"They look five years into the past and five years into the future using their methods, and we selected the one that was most accurate," he said.

Instead of pulling more money from taxes to pay for more students under a contingency budget, said Ely, the district will cut costs and increase class sizes under the adopted budget.

Tedisco and Amedore maintain that the present law allows the opportunity for schools everywhere to pigeonhole voters should they choose to do so.

"What we don't need is any school board in the state of New York to threaten or to hang over the heads of the taxpayers huge tax increases if they don't vote in favor of the initial budget," said Amedore.

Amedore said that he's meeting with the Education Department to identify the specific methods to use in instating the cap.

Tedisco hinted that the bill could be a step towards larger reform like a property tax cap, which he favors. Under a tax cap, schools would be barred from proposing large year-to-year budget increases. The most typically suggested cap is 4 percent.""

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