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Johnsburg Central budget cuts begin

Johnsburg Central School

Johnsburg Central School

— “We’re going into a time of continual cutting.”

Michael Markwica, Johnsburg Central School District's superintendent, didn't have much more to offer the dozen or so people attending the school board's meeting March 12. Markwica and district business manager Kathy Spring had just finished outlining one likely scenario for the 2012-13 district budget.

“I think we’ll be back here next year with even more severe cuts,” Markwica said.

At the meeting, the district's finance committee presented a proposed budget totaling $9.7 million, down from the $9.9 million plan approved for 2011-12. A vote on the budget is due May 15. The next board meeting is March 26.

It's estimated that the tax levy will be $5.3 million, $17,900 — 0.3 percent — more than last year's levy. The state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, which actually is a formula that can hold districts, towns and counties to much less than 2 percent, restricts Johnsburg to a maximum 0.6 percent increase this coming year.

To get to those numbers, the committee performed triage on a curriculum reeling from five years of cost cutting.

Four proposed items sparked the most conversation.

1) Markwica said the district would save money by bringing back two Johnsburg special-education students who attend Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) classes. At the same time, a special-education student from the Indian Lake Central School District would transfer from BOCES to Johnsburg.

The three high-need students would form their own class. Indian Lake would pay for a dedicated teacher's aid and contribute $20,000 in tuition to Johnsburg. Under this plan, no new teacher would be hired. Savings would come from not paying BOCES fees for the Johnsburg students.

Johnsburg's three special-education teachers would have to take on additional responsibilities associated with the three students' behavioral and medical needs, Spring said after the meeting.

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