By Michael DePietro
The ballot is taking shape in the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District for the annual budget vote to be held Tuesday, May 18. The Board of Education recently passed motions setting its expenditure budget for the 2021-22 school year at $79,222,507, and the tax levy limit to $34,720,519 – an increase of 1.99% from last year. Both motions were passed unanimously.
Last month, the board also voted to add provisions calling for the establishment of a pair of reserve funds. The board is looking to create a school district transportation capital reserve fund, along with the ability to expend from that fund for the purpose of purchasing maintenance and food service vehicles. Additionally, the district is seeking to authorize the establishment of a school district technology reserve fund to help meet rising technological needs and demands.
During the budget presentation from the board’s April 8 meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Management Allison Davis explained, “The current year budget is being balanced using just over $2 million in appropriated fund balance: $800,000 in ERS retirement reserves, $300,000 in TRS retirement reserves, $250,000 in workers comp reserves, and $500,000 in employee benefits reserves. … It’s important to think about, because that number is getting up there now. We want to make sure we have the revenues to support (the budget) moving forward.”
Elsewhere, Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich said he was pleased to announce the New York State Senate and Assembly rejected Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desire to supplement state funding with relief funds from the federal government. A plan to consolidate expense-aid lines was also rejected.
The district is set to receive approximately $1.9 million more in total than it would have in the governor’s proposed budget. Most of that comes from a $790,000 increase in foundation aid, $772,000 in building aid, and a $125,000 increase to transportation aid.