After more than 40 years of giving $5 million in sales tax revenue to area schools, the Wayne County Board of Supervisors could consider taking it out of the budget in the future. YNN's Rose Eiklor spoke to district leaders about the impact this proposal could have on schools.
WAYNE COUNTY, N.Y. -- "I think we have invested in our schools and I think we should continue to invest in our schools and I think we basically should leave it alone"
On Wednesday, The Wayne County Board of Supervisors discussed a proposal to eliminate the $5.4 million in sales tax revenue the county gives to districts.
"The county laid off approximately over 100 workers, employees over the last year. We also had to start raising taxes. So the issue is if we have to continue to raise taxes should we do so on behalf of the schools. Whose budget should it be on?" said Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Hoffman.
Since 1967 Wayne County school districts have been receiving sales tax revenue. This began at 1 percent and was capped in 1991 at $5.4 million. Superintendents say the schools are already struggling with funding; they cannot afford to lose any more.
"We're considering all options at this point," said Gananda Central School District Shawn Gananda Central School District Shawn Vanscoy.
The money is currently in the budget for 2014, but that could change in the future. The chair of the government operations committee says he's planning to present a proposal at next week's finance meeting to eliminate the revenue given to schools.
"I would clearly like to do something with economic development because that as I said would benefit everybody. The town, the counties and the schools, outside of that I'm open to ideas,' said Chair of Government Operations Committee Robert Kelsch.
Members of the Gananda School District say if the cut is made they stand to lose more than 400 thousand dollars in revenue.
"Seven teaching positions, its equivalent to our arts program, it's a little more than our extracurricular program. So it would have a significant impact regardless of what we do. For tax payers it could be a 4.4 percent tax levy increase," said Vanscoy.
Another option, consolidation
"We are looking at everything from closing a building through looking for any type of financial saving," said Vanscoy.
Vanscoy says a cut in funding will also affect Webster, Penfield, and Port Byron, any schools that have students attending who live in Wayne County. The Board of Supervisors says these are just proposals and a decision has not yet been made.
"I want the best solution not only for the county but for the kids. My grandkids go to Wayne Central. I want that to be a good school," said Kelsch.