Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 28, 2013

District looking at smaller tax levy hike


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Taxes account for about $36 million in revenue for the city school district. If a 2.75 percent tax levy increase were approved by voters on May 21, the impact on a home assessed at $105,000 with a basic STAR exemption would be an annual increase of about 68 cents per $1,000.

Deborah Coder, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance, said if board members chose to put all of the $950,000 toward reducing the levy, the tax levy would have increased by 1.48 percent.

Lockport will see some big increases in the benefits line of the budget, which will increase about $3.1 million in 2013-14 to a total of $21.7 million. That is largely due to increase in the state teacher and employee retirement systems.

Expenses in the Teacher Retirement System will jump about $1 million or 26.5 percent for the district, to a total cost of about $5.1 million next year. The Employee Retirement System will go up about $151,000 or 14.18 percent to $1.2 million.

Board of Education members will adopt a budget April 10. A public hearing on the budget will be held May 8.

In other district news, board members approved a new contract with YWCA to provide universal prekindergarten services.

In the past, Lockport’s universal prekindergarten sites were held at John Pound School, the YWCA and Happy Times Preschool. In an effort to cut costs, the school district decided to move all classes under one roof at John Pound. Pound houses the district’s early education programs.

Lockport had to bid out the new contract, but only two responded with the YWCA being the lowest bidder. The contract is for $189,789, which is covered by the state UPK funding.

Coder said the YWCA lowered its fees for the program. The contract also calls for an increase in the number of kids the YWCA will be responsible for, which will be 100 children, up from 60.

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

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