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2nd budget vote June 19 for 1.75% Tax Rate Hike

Second Chance to pass School Budget, Reduced to 1.75% Tax Rate Increase

My notes on the School Board Meeting on 5-23-12 re: 2012-13 Budget:

I was unable to stay through the meeting due to my recent inability to sit for long because of a nerve problem in my right leg. However, I can tell you some basic information. Superintendent Gabriel has proposed a revised budget that calls for a 1.75% increase on the tax rate to residents. He has restored all the teacher positions that had been cut in the previous budget. He has cut the services that are provided through BOCES for other staff that is currently being used. How he has done this is to draw down $1,111,291.00 from the fund balance—half of the reserves that he had hoped to use, along with increased revenue from taxes, to stretch out over the next 3 or 4 years to keep the school system stable. His conclusion from the resounding defeat of the 5.2% increase in the tax rate was that people were not interested in long-term solutions to the fiscal problem, but rather wanted to use the funds to keep as close to the existing services without raising taxes. With this approach the school will draw down approximately a $million plus from the reserve for this coming year and for the next year and then face a budget deficit of a staggering $1.2 million for the budget for .2014-15, and twice that amount the following year. These figures are projections based on continuing an annual 1.75% tax rate increase, no increase in State aid and fixed increases in expenditures. One could hope for an increase in State Aid and an improved economy and reduced increase of costs for benefits, but that will be a part of the reality of each successive year.

However, the projections do paint an overall picture of 2 years of “normal” consumption and then an abrupt “fall off the cliff” when the revenue can’t be raised unless there is an extremely high tax increase, and/or drastic cuts in the eductionl system.  There were from 40 to 50 people attending the meeting. The Board, arrayed in front of the audience at a U-shaped set of tables, began to ask questions about staffing, particularly about Guidance Counselors, but to tell you the truth I couldn’t hear many of the speakers, since they spoke to each other and not necessarily to the attending audience. As the Board members began to go down through the line items of the newly revised proposed budget, I had to leave.

Unable to reach David Forman this morning, I leave you with the last paragraphs from John Mason’s article,published  May 24th, in the Register Star: “There was much give and take as to which position reductions would be kept as is and which restored, but finally the board was able to agree to the following: A physical education teacher would be restored to full-time, as well as the relevant aide; an elementary teacher and a part-time nurse would be restored; high school English, social studies and family and consumer sciences teachers would be made .8 positions, high school science .9, music .5, art .7 and general science full-time. With those compromises reached, the board voted six-to-one for the new, proposed budget. Voting in favor were Clum, Dufresne, Forman, Moore, Mortenson, and Repko. Delpozzo was the sole dissenting vote.”

If the budget doesn’t pass June 19, the district will go to a contingency budget, which means a zero tax levy increase, with other restrictions.” For the full article go to http://www.registerstar.com

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