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Residents to vote May 16 on $10.7 million spending plan

April 27, 2017 — On Tuesday, May 16, Arkport Central School District residents will vote on a $10,661,352 proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year. The budget calls for a 3.06 percent increase in spending over 2016-17 and carries a 1.74 percent tax levy increase, which is below the maximum increase allowed for the district under the state’s tax levy limit law.

The proposed budget maintains the programming and services now available at Arkport, including extra- and co-curricular activities and programs. The fiscal plan also replaces an Erie 1 BOCES (E1B) PowerSchool coordinator with a Greater Southern Tier (GST) BOCES social worker and provides for a $100,000 capital project for locker room renovations.

Residents will vote on the proposed budget on May 16 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“With next year’s proposed plan, we’re focusing on three areas of need: student technology, school social work and future planning through grant services,” Superintendent of Schools Jesse Harper said.

The proposed budget seeks to restore some services that previously had been cut due to budget constraints during the worst of the national economic recession. Specifically, Arkport eliminated one of the school’s two guidance counselors in 2011. In 2017-18, administrators propose to add the services of a social worker through GST BOCES.

“Like many other districts in the state, Arkport in the past was forced to make difficult budget decisions that affected staffing,” Mr. Harper said. “During this time, we moved from two guidance counselors to one, which afforded students less access to social and emotional counseling services. By adding a part-time BOCES social worker, I believe we’ll be taking a step in the right direction to addressing the needs of Arkport students.”

The budget also provides for the initial stages of a three-year rollout of a one-to-one technology program that would pair each student with a device, such as a tablet or laptop.

“The goal will be to teach students not only how to use technology to help them learn, but also how to use it in a productive and appropriate manner,” Mr. Harper said.

The fiscal plan also includes grant writing services through GST BOCES, to help Arkport seek funding to help offset costs associated with the planned cafeteria renovations and other projects.

ALSO ON THE BALLOT: On May 16, Arkport residents also will elect one Board of Education member and consider a separate proposition to purchase two new school buses, one equipped with a wheelchair lift, at a cost not to exceed $240,000.

After they vote, residents will be asked to take an anonymous survey about the district moving forward with a merger study. The study would examine the possible impacts that merging Arkport and Canaseraga school districts would have on the following areas: student enrollment, academic programs, athletics, facilities, transportation, staffing and finances.