Dundee Library seeks more funds from tax base

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Representatives from the Dundee Library are asking the Dundee School Board of Education to help them establish a new approach to funding the library’s programs. At last week’s regular school board meeting, they presented information about a proposition they want to present to voters during the May 20 district election. The proposition would establish a “contract for education” with the school district, which would collect $145,000 from district taxpayers in addition to the school taxes.

The contract would cost the average property owner about 38 cents per week, according to the tax levy information provided to the library board.

The library’s current tax levy, also administered by the school district over the years, is just under $60,000. Its existing budget also includes $26,198 in direct contributions from Dundee, Barrington, Milo, Reading, Starkey and Tyrone, but those contributions would be eliminated if the proposition is approved.

According to Nancy Elliott, the library board of directors is concerned that it has been dipping into what they call “invested gifts” over recent years, and expect to use $28,000 of the $162,000 from the fund in the coming year’s budget.

The proposed library budget includes about 26 percent more in total spending. The increased revenues from the $145,000 tax levy would allow the library board to increase staff wages to be more in line with their training and experience, and with the cost of living; improve technology; keep up with increasing expenses and care for the building and grounds pro actively rather than on a “crisis basis,” according to a document provided by the library trustees.

School Board President Jim Koehler said the school district and public library should find ways to work together.

Other business on the board’s March 27 agenda included:

• SUPERINTENDENT: The School Board has hired the district’s next superintendent. At its March 27 regular meeting, the board approved a contract with Kelly M. Houck of Bradford to take over the leadership of the district on July 1, 2014 at a salary of $125,000. See the related article about Houck’s appointment on page 1 for details.

• BUDGET: Business Manager Melissa Lawson provided an update on the 2014-15 budget, which has been reduced to reflect a 9.84 percent increase in spending and a 3.9 percent increase in the total tax levy. Spending reductions include cuts to operations and maintenance, transportation, special education placements, and in substitute teacher costs. Meanwhile, spending increases include a director of special programs, and $20,000 in revenue from Corning Community College will be cut when the district changes to Finger Lakes Community College programs.

With other adjustments, the current spending is now $16.5 million. If voters turn down the budget, the district can offer a revised plan for approval. If the second attempt also fails, the district will have to operate with a contingent budget of $16.37 million.

State aid figures were not available at the time of this presentation, but Monday morning, Lawson said the district has learned the Governor’s budget includes an additional $275,927 in aid for the district, a 5.5 percent increase. The increase in state aid means the district will be able to reduce the amount of reserved funds it plans to use from $1 million to $837,000.

The board will vote on a proposed budget at its next meeting April 10.

• PRESENTATIONS: Members of the marching band performed some of the music they will use during this spring’s season. Students in music teacher Patrick Dunham’s theory class have created an arrangement of “Say Something.” Maura Wolverton and members of the class of 2018 made a presentation on their plans for a trip to Washington D.C. next year. She said the class is hoping to take two smaller trips rather than one major trip as seniors. They see the first trip as a team building opportunity, and the senior trip as a celebration.

Wolverton and foreign language students gave a presentation on their trip to Quebec.