by Andrew Martin
The townspeople of Wolcott will be voting on a proposed school budget for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) that has increased $373,210 from the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget that was passed last year. The proposed FY14 budget of $4,725,804 represents an increase of 8.57 percent over the FY13 budget of $4,352,595.
The total proposed increase in budget is due to increases in both the secondary and elementary level school budgets for Wolcott. The proposed elementary budget for FY14 is increasing $141,381 and the secondary budget is increasing $231,829. While the proposed expenditures are increasing by $373,210 – the offsetting local revenues are projected to increase by $120,660, meaning that the overall projected net increase for the proposed budget over FY13 would be $252,549 or 7.16%.
One area of the budget where an increase occurred was in transportation, which increased by $5,349 at the elementary level and $4,031 for the secondary level. A similar increase of $5,083 occurred in the line item for food service operations, an increase that is due to staff salaries and benefits as well as an estimated rise in the cost of food and supplies.
Another increase occurred in the line item for regular instruction for secondary education, which saw an increase of $151,861. The increase in this item is due to a projected increase in secondary students from 122 in FY13 to 124 in FY14 as well as an expected increase in tuition rates.
The increase in the overall budget means that the actual homestead tax rate for Wolcott is projected to rise from $1.1768 in FY13 to $1.2740 in FY14, which is an increase of $.0972/$100 of assessed home value. This would translate to an increase of $97.20 on a house that is valued at $100,000.
Along with the proposed budget, voters in Wolcott will also be voting to authorize the school board to use $172,081 from the Building Maintenance and Repair Reserve Fund to help defray expenses for the Town School District for the upcoming fiscal year.
A second article asks voters to authorize the school board to establish a reserve fund that could be used for unbudgeted secondary tuition expenditures and to also authorize the transfer of half of any unobligated year end fund balances as of June 30 into that fund. A similar article asks voters to authorize the school board to transfer half of any unobligated year end funds as of June 30 to the Building Maintenance and Repair Reserve Fund.