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Shen adopts budget of $151.5M

— The Shenendehowa Central School District recently adopted a budget of $151.5 million for the 2012-13 school year, a spending increase of 0.82 percent over last year.

Shenendehowa was contending with a $1.5 million budget gap, which was closed with several measures.

“The District has adopted a multi-year budget approach that looks at ways of reducing the cost footprint going forward and is sustainable from year to year. We were fortunate to have six administrative and 20 teaching retirements occur this year which translates to savings in salaries. We also saved $1.7 million in health insurance costs this year due to various plan design changes,” said Kathleen Wetmore, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. “In addition, we have refinanced a portion of our long-term debt and renegotiated a long-term lease through BOCES that has created additional savings. All of these strategies have resulted in a tax levy well within the tax levy limit and still maintain quality programs for our students.”

The district is more “fortunate this year than some other districts” because a lot of reductions were made over the past two years -close to 100 positions were cut, according to Kelly DeFeciani, a spokesperson for the district.

State aid to the district will not be increased this year, and is projected to be $37.5 million. Other revenue items, according to DeFeciani, amount to about $1.7 million, leaving $108.3 million to be raised by the district in property taxes.

Last year, the district raised $105.2 million in taxes.

The adopted Shenendehowa budget is below the maximum allowable tax levy limit of 3.43 percent with a tax levy hike of 2.88 percent.

“We didn’t cut any services or programs to students and we were able to (in this budget) provide two additions that will benefit students. One is the opportunity for (students to take) Mandarin Chinese. The second one is we’re going to be piloting iPads in select classrooms next year for instructional methodologies,” said DeFeciani.

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