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      Marcellus budget proposal includes property tax levy increase

      Taxpayers in the Marcellus School District could see a 2.9 percent property tax levy increase if next year's budget is approved.

      The Marcellus Board of Education adopted its $30.4 million dollar budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year. It increases spending 0.61 percent and carries a 2.9 percent property tax levy increase.

      The plan restores some previously eliminated positions and adds three more; enhances district security; reduces some class sizes; and fully funds modified sports.

      "We are beginning to reap what we have sown in Marcellus over the past four years, through our prudent financial practices," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig J. Tice. "Because we made some difficult choices in using attrition (retirements and resignations) to close the budget gaps in the past, this budget not only preserves the integrity of our academic program, but enhances it, as well."

      The district initially faced a projected budget shortfall of about $1 million, due to an anticipated $103,427 drop in state aid and $987,906 increase in expenses, including a 37 percent jump in teacher retirement system costs. It was able to close the gap to $602,128, by reducing energy costs and health insurance premiums through rate and contract negotiations and eliminating salary and benefit costs through retirements and resignations.

      A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 14. Taxpayers will vote on the proposal May 21.

      On May 21, taxpayers will elect three members to the Board of Education and decide on two propositions, one to replace six large school buses and another to install a wireless communication network throughout the district. They will consider them as separate ballot propositions, and both are eligible for approximately 75 percent aid reimbursement from the state.