In Schroon Lake School board proposes cuts

SCHROON LAKE - The Schroon Lake Central School Board of Education is asking voters on May 17 to pass a proposed 2011-12 budget that includes cutting some positions and extracurricular activities while keeping the spending increase to less than 1 percent and the tax increase to about 2.3 percent.

The proposed 2011-12 Schroon Lake school budget totals $7,352,379. That's an increase of $65,966 - 0.91 percent - from the current spending plan of $7,286,413.

The proposed tax levy for 2011-12 is $5,862,870. That's a $130,957 increase - 2.28 percent - from the present levy of $5,731,913.

It's too early to figure the 2011-12 tax rate per $1,000 assessed if the budget passes, according to School Superintendent Gerald Blair, as the town's assessment roll won't be approved until the summer. The current tax rate is $6.85 per $1,000 assessed.

The School Board instructed Blair to draft a spending plan that would keep spending down, he said.

"They did not want to go above 1 percent," Blair said.

This year, the School Board was faced with drafting a spending plan while dealing with increases in the retirement systems, unemployment payments, fuel prices and other operational expenses.

Plus, there will be less state and federal aid available in the coming year. The school district will see $817,009 in state aid in 2011-12, a decrease of $157,991 from the current aid package of $975,000.

Before any cuts were made, Blair said the school district was about $480,000 "in the hole." If the district didn't make any cuts, the spending increase would have been between 5 and 8 percent, he said. And that was too high, given the School Board's goal.

In order to help make up for the shortfall, School Board members agreed to use $625,000 of fund balance, an increase of $100,000 from the current budget.

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