The public vote on Mount Markham Central School Districtís proposed $24.3 million budget for the next school year will occur from 1 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 19, in the elementary school cafeteria on Fairground Road, West Winfield. The plan carries a tax levy increase of 1.92 percent.
Two board of education seats also are up for election that day. Each seat carries a three-year term. Incumbent Tom Huxtable is running for re-election, but no candidates are running for the other seat. As a result, the seat may be filled through a write-in vote. If write-in candidates decline to take the seat, the board then can appoint someone for a one-year term, after which time the seat will go back up for election.
The proposed budget for the 2009-10 school year supports the boardís continued focus on improving literacy and math education and the integration of technology into classroom learning. The proposed tax levy increase includes a one percent tax levy increase from the districtís capital project now underway and a one percent tax levy increase for Herkimer BOCES capital improvements approved by voters this past December.
Despite the addition of those project costs to the budget, their associated tax levy increases will be partially offset during the same year by revenue those projects generate through state aid. The budgetís overall impact on district taxpayers also has been offset, in part, by about $17.8 million in state aid and $487,130 in district reserve funds set aside by the board of education specifically to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
To reduce budget expenditures next year, Mount Markham and three other school districts will form a new centralized business office at Herkimer BOCES next year to share business services and reduce their individual associated operational and personnel costs.
Other cost reductions at Mount Markham include eliminating the equivalent of three full-time teaching positions through staff retirements. In addition to saving money, the reduced staffing also pes a decrease in total student enrollment in recent years.
Among the districtís proposed budget expenditures is a $404,965 allocation to buy four new buses, although the districtís actual cost for that purchase will be only $40,497 due to state reimbursements for each new bus. The purchase continues the districtís bus replacement schedule aimed at improving fleet safety and reducing high maintenance costs.
A copy of the proposed budget is available for review in the districtís main office. Questions or comments about the budget may be directed to that office or to board of education members by calling 315-822-2824 or visiting the districtís web site at www.mmcsd.org.