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LP school board up in arms over budget cuts

The Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education continues to wrangle over next year's budget as it tries to avoid a major tax increase for the district.

The board met Tuesday night to discuss possible cuts in the first of several meetings before it votes on a final budget.

In the mean time, a laundry list of budget items is being shuffled on and off the chopping block. Possible cuts include the assistant principal position, reductions in elective courses and special education.

Board member Dan Nardiello said the deliberations come on the heels of conflicting pressures from local taxpayers and state government.

Since the state is in a financial bind, Nardiello said the district is under pressure to further reduce spending. But he questioned the wisdom of cutting services that are vital to educating students.

"So what do we do? Do we succumb to the state's pressure or do we continue to do the right thing?" he asked.

Nardiello said he'd like to see fewer cuts at the school and noted that many taxpayers he's spoken with would agree to a modest tax increase because they recognize the value of the school to the community.

Superintendent Randy Richards pointed out that if substantial cuts weren't made, the district would face a general tax increase of seven percent. He reminded the board that they agreed on reducing the taxpayer burden.

"People are jumping on these [proposed budget cuts] like you beat on a pi ata with a stick, but I think we agree that we can't afford our liabilities in the long term," Richards said.

The board plans to meet again next Tuesday to continue hashing things out.

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