The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

March 25, 2013

Barker spending would be cut in budget

Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — If no changes are made, the Barker School District’s 2013-14 budget would feature a $450,000 cut in spending.

As it stands, the $19 million budget would ask for $132,500 or 3.5 percent more from the tax levy, a total of about $3.8 million. It’s the second time in five years Barker is raising the levy.

The 3.5 percent rise is well below the district’s tax cap of 90 percent. The large figure is derived from the formula districts use to figure out the levy cap, Barker’s is affected by the AES payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement.

Superintendent Roger Klatt said the district has to cover a $4 million deficit, consisting mainly of increases in salaries and benefits, as well as huge increases in the state Teacher and Employee Retirement Systems. The TRS and ERS together would be a $300,000 increase for Barker.

But the biggest piece was a $3 million drop in the PILOT Barker received from AES. In 2013-14 the district will receive $4.5 million.

Klatt said Barker expects to use about $3.3 million in reserves, most of which will come from the PILOT reserve.

The district will also make a $650,000 cut in staffing and programming, but the impact to the classroom will be limited, Klatt said.

“We’ll be able to keep the integrity of programs and services,” Klatt said. “Student programs won’t be compromised.”

Board members are expected to adopt a budget on April 22, so to give officials some time to see what happens with the state budget. It’s possible school districts could receive more in state aid then what Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented in his budget proposal in January. Cuomo had increased Barker’s aid by $53,000, totaling about $6.7 million.

A public hearing on the 2013-14 budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 7 in the Herbert F. Ludwig Fine Arts Hall, 1628 Quaker Road, Barker.

The meeting will include a public presentation of the budget. Residents will vote on the budget from noon until 8 p.m. May 21.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.