Batavia City Schools board adopts $54.8 million budget with 1 percent tax increase
Batavia City School District residents will be voting on a $54.8 million budget and a 1 percent tax levy increase since the school board adopted those final numbers at Thursday’s meeting.
With no discussion or questions after hearing the proposed 2022-23 budget presentation, board members Alice Benedict, Jennifer Lendvay, John Marucci, Chezeray Rolle, Barbara Bowman and Michelle Hume cast yes votes. Member John Reigle was absent. The 1 percent tax levy increase means a total of $19,688,898 to be raised through local property taxes.
If approved by public vote in May, that will push the tax rate from $19.23 per $1,000 assessed value to $19.42. The increase of 19 cents more per $1,000 would result in an extra $19 for a home assessed at $100,000, or a total of $1,942 in property taxes.
Business Administrator Scott Rozanski walked the board through a brief explanation of how retirements, fewer buses and grant funds helped to lower the preliminary budget of $55 million by $877,225. The initial budget increase from the current year was 5.5 percent, which was lowered to 5.19 percent, Rozanski said.
The related tax levy increase of 1 percent falls under the tax cap of 1.62 percent, which is what the board asked for, President Alice Benedict said.
“Thank you for getting us to a place we requested,” she said. “You’ve done a lot of work getting us to a 1 percent.”
The Batavian has emailed each board member — a publicly elected figure — for comments about the budget and reasons for his/her yes vote since not one offered comments during the meeting. Even though New York State’s Open Meetings Law “generally permits you to converse with your fellow board members outside of board meetings,” according to the state Board of Education Handbook, “you should ensure that such informal chats do not substitute for full deliberation in a public meeting.”
A public budget hearing will be at 6 p.m. on May 5, and the vote is on May 17.
Vote No and send a message. No to increased spending Declining enrollment mean cuts to staff size. Hopefully those board members The Batavian reached out to will explain their rubber-stamping of an increase in spending.of 5.1%...
Holding the line on spending -- especially during a period of rising home assessments and an inflationary period marked by a spike in gasoline prices, food costs and basic materials -- would have been the prudent thing for the BCSD board of education to do. By keeping the budget flat (and I'm sure that can be done), it sends the message that the board understands the current economic crisis and cares about its constituents. I agree with Mr. Potwora and others who have commented on this site and The Batavian Facebook page that a NO vote on the school budget is warranted.