NEWFANE — Superintendent Michael Baumann unveiled Newfane Central School District's preliminary budget for the 2019-2020 year at Tuesday's school board meeting. The plan anticipates a year-over-year spending increase of about $1 million.
Baumann emphasized to the board that the numbers are "very, very preliminary" and can change over the course of budget deliberations.
The budget calls for an increase of $268,307 or 2 percent in the property tax levy. The budget would be balanced by the use of $5.1 million of reserve funds (2.2 percent more than was drawn down in 2018-2019) and receipt of $562,000 "miscellaneous" revenue (12 percent more than in 2018-2019).
In Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed state budget, the Newfane district is slated to receive $18.57 million in state aid (a 5.3 percent increase), but Baumann said administration is budgeting the line more conservatively at $18.1 million due to fluid calculations of transportation aid.
The spending side of the budget consists of three areas: Administration, $1.18 million, a $26,000 increase; programming, $31.5 million, a $959,000 increase, most of which is tied to increased transportation and employee benefit costs; and capital, $4.7 million, a $64,000 increase.
While the plan does not show any staff cuts in 2019-2020, Baumann said there are certain areas where cuts could be made. Three teachers have already retired in this school year and he believes at least three more will retire by June. The district is budgeting to replace four teachers in 2019-2020, he said.
Student enrollment is projected to decrease at all schools next year, Baumann noted. Elementary school enrollment is projected to decrease from 431 to 423 students, Newfane Middle School from 410 to 392 students, and Newfane High School from 549 to 501 students.
Baumann added that the Niagara County birth rate decreased from 2,112 in 2017 to 2,097 in 2018.
He said the board will now have to decide what to cut from or add to the spending plan, adding that certain previously discussed items including lacrosse, additional bus aides and fitness center improvements are not included in the preliminary budget.
School trustees are to receive a second draft of the budget at their Feb. 19 meeting. The board has to adopt a school budget by April 2 and present it for a public vote on May 21.