By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
The Grand Island Board of Education approved a 2017-18 school budget of $62,639,021.
At its final budget session Tuesday, the board voted 7-0 to approve the budget and place it on the ballot at the May 16 budget vote and school board election.
This budget calls for an increase of 1.60 percent in the tax rate (from $19.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $19.40), or less than the increase in the consumer price index, Robert McDow, assistant superintendent for finance, pointed out.
The real property tax levy will rise from $32,281,397 to $33,126,393, or 2.62 percent. The district's budget increase is within the $845,162 maximum increase allowed by the state's tax cap.
McDow said the district was able to close a $340,000 budget gap through cost savings in equipment, health care, contributions to the teacher retirement system, and legal fees.
Late passage of the New York state budget delayed school district's statewide from planning next year's budgets with up-to-date state aid assumptions. Trustee Karen Carroll asked about what impact the just-passed state budget had on Grand Island's aid. McDow said since the last budget input session, the district will receive about $100,000 more in state aid than forecast, and the district will expect another increased amount in BOCES aid.
Trustee Glenn Bobeck moved to approve the $62,639,021 budget, which passed 7-0.
District Clerk Janet Schuster announced that five candidates have submitted petitions to run for two seats on the Board of Education when the election is held May 16: Marcela Hernandez, Heath Frisch, Jack Burns, Ashli Dreher and Sue Marston. Marston is an incumbent. Carroll declined to run for re-election.
A "Meet the Candidates Night" is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. May 9 in the Connor Middle School Little Theater.