After several years of cost cutting, most local school districts this year are proposing budgets that maintain staffing and program levels and in some cases restore cuts made in the recent past.
The districts that make up the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES are proposing 2013-14 budgets with an average 3.21-percent spending increase. That's comparable to the statewide average of 3.05 percent, according to data the state Education Department lists on its school property tax report card website page.
Voters will react to the budget proposals on Tuesday, when school budget and board of education elections take place statewide.
New York state is promising a little more aid to its school districts this year, and the budget proposals those districts will put before voters this week reflects average higher spending increases. A year ago, the average budget proposal increased by 1.71 percent.
The higher spending, however, is not necessarily translating into higher proposed tax levy increases. The extra state aid and the use of reserves are a couple of tools districts are using to offset spending.
Locally, tax levy increases range from 0.44 percent in the Union Springs Central School District to 9.97 percent in the Moravia Central School District. Moravia is the only local district with a proposal that exceeds the state property tax cap, meaning its budget will need 60 percent approval to be adopted.
There are school board races in all nine Cayuga-Onondga BOCES districts, but just three are fielding enough candidates to have contested elections.