Waterville Weighs 3.14 Percent Hike In School Taxes

Some revisions to the state tax cap formula allow Waterville Central School to raise taxes 3.14 percent next year.

Board members said last week they are leaning toward doing that to get the full amount of money raised without needed a 60 percent majority of voter approval. Business administrator Tracy Leone said she recommended the board go to the 3.14 percent hike so the district did not have to use as much savings to close the budget gap.

In Waterville’s projected $18.1 million budget, expenses look to be $600,000 more than revenues. To close that, without eliminating any programs, the board will need to approve using some of the district’s savings.

“It sounds odd,’’ said board member Russell Stewart, “but the responsible thing to do is to go to a 3.1 percent hike.’’

The five board members at the meeting did not take a formal vote to raise taxes 3.14 percent, but all indicated they would support it unless hearing strong reaction from district residents.

Principals Nick Rauch and Maureen Gray gave a presentation to the board on instructional needs for next year. Their suggestions include some programs to add that will help students academically.

Gray said with the retirement of an academic support teacher at Memorial Park School, the proposal is to fill that vacancy with someone who teaches fourth grade now. Because this year’s third grade has just 37 students, fourth grade can go to two, not three, sections, she said.

That small class and need for just two classes can create a three-year plan to fill that academic support teacher role, she said.

At the Junior-Senior High School, Rauch said the recommendation is to fill the open full-time position in technology to hire someone to teach metal shop, welding, small engine repair and coding.

He said a summer school program at Proctor High School in Utica can help students catch up with their studies to graduate on time. Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES offers a summer Regents exam prep course; last year all six students from WCS who took it passed their Regents, he said.

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