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Nisky' BOE settles on 3.95 percent tax hike

"We went through each of these line items and discussed them and talked about how they would affect the students," said Sosnow. "We maintained class sizes on several instances where eliminating a section would have pushed the class size higher."

If district taxpayers do vote down the budget, the BOE is going to continue digging deeper, which would involve additional cuts likely to directly effect students.

"By adopting this budget, the Board of Education fully intends to maintain a spending level no higher than what has been proposed, regardless of the outcome of the vote," said Superintendent Kevin Baughman in a statement.

Looking ahead, the district is also planning on what future budgets could entail based on projected expenses and reduced state and federal aid. The district saw a reduction in state aid totaling $1.2 million and federal stimulus aid dropping approximately $1.5 million. If the district carried forward a budget with no reductions from the current year, the tax increase would be over 11 percent.

"We do have a budget forecast for four years, so we are creating scenarios based on our best assumptions on what is coming. Part of that planning helps us to determine how much reserves funds to use," said Sosnow. "Now we are getting down to where our only options will be to cut into programs."

To help ease the burden on expenses, a wage freeze was agreed on by building principals, K-12 directors, district office clerical staff, district supervisors, assistant superintendent and administrator for human resources. The cost savings of the freeze is around $87,000.

District taxpayers will vote on the budget on May 17 at the high school from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Also to be decided are two Board of Education seats for three-year terms and a school bus proposition to purchase four 66-passenger buses, one 35-passenger bus and two 24-passenger buses with wheelchair access. The eight current buses would be retired and phased out due to high mileage and expensive maintenance costs, according to district officials.""

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