Friday, January 30, 2009


From the Lockport Union Sun & Journal...

The Royalton-Hartland Board of Education is looking over the first draft of the proposed 2009-10 budget, which has a 12.59 percent increase in the tax levy.

Superintendent Paul Bona made his first budget presentation to the board Thursday night. The proposed $23,702,342 budget is an increase of 1.23 percent from the current school year budget. Bona said the budget was being planned with the governor’s exact proposed state aid numbers in mind.

The proposed federal economic stimulus may not be enough help. Bona said he felt most of the stimulus money would head toward larger or poverty school districts. With the stimulus up for a vote in U.S. Senate next week, Bona said he couldn’t count on it, because nothing is definite. According to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Roy-Hart would get $600,000.

To help with the revenue, Bona said $1 million would be coming from the fund balance and $200,000 from a reserve account. After state aid, the rest of the budget would be coming from the tax levy, the amount of budget revenue that comes from taxpayers. Bona said compared to some other districts in the state, Roy-Hart was in a better spot. “Some other districts are facing 20 to 30 percent (increase in tax levy),” he said.

The proposed contingency budget has a tax levy increase of about 19.53 percent. A contingency budget is enacted if the public votes down a proposed budget.

To help the district with the financial difficulty, the board laid off seven school monitors Thursday. The seven positions, together the equivalent of five full-time positions, were removed from the proposed budget, along with the two reading recovery teaching positions. The elimination of the school monitor positions will save Roy-Hart between $20,000 to $30,000, Bona said.

The board is planning to have a budget workshop Thursday.

In other district news, School Board President Patricia Riegle asked Bona for a detailed update on the $8.3 million facilities project. At the next board meeting on Feb. 26, Bona said he would have the update and the architect, McKenna and Associates, present. Voters approved the project a year ago.

Riegle said there wasn’t an update yet in the district’s superintendent search. But once Bona’s replacement is found, the board will host a special meeting.

“Once the final decision is made, we’ll invite everyone and introduce that person at that time,” she said.The final three candidates are Joseph Hochreiter, deputy superintendent of the Elmira City School District; Thomas Manko, superintendent of the York Central School District; and Kevin MacDonald, assistant superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara Board Of Cooperative Educational Services.