Saranac Lake Saranac Lake Central School Board members recently began taking a hard look at their 2012-13 spending plan under the new state-mandated tax levy cap and are faced with a $1.4 million revenue shortfall.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Dan Bower gave board members an updated budget preparation worksheet during their March 7 meeting, outlining the state’s allowable maximum tax levy increase with a simple majority vote of at least 50 percent. That number is $392,693, above the current tax levy of $18,295,387.
Voters can override any amount above that on May 15, but they would need a supermajority of at least 60 percent.
At this stage in the budget process, there is an estimated $26,556,386 in revenue and $28,394,257 in expenses for 2012-13, requiring a tax levy increase of $1,837,871. By subtracting the allowable tax levy increase — $392,693 — school officials are left with a $1,445,178 revenue shortfall.
The allowable increase represents a jump of 2.146-percent, which is determined using the state’s tax cap formula, which is based at 2-percent and then considers exemptions and other factors when determining the cap total.
The school has to find a combination of cuts and added revenue to make up that amount.
While School Board members did not discuss any cuts at their March 7 meeting, Bower offered a few ways the district can achieve $543,000 in savings:
•lower health insurance rates, $263,000;
•UPK mid-day transportation, $70,000;
•field trips, $20,000;
•music teacher retirement, $50,000;
•garage restructuring, $50,000;
•business office clerical reduction, $35,000;
•indoor track cut, $9,000;
•in-house projects, $30,000;
•and facilities subs, $16,000.
Bower also suggested using an additional $200,000 from the fund balance (revenue previously saved for emergency situations). If all his suggestions were adopted, that would still leave a shortfall of $702,178 for the School Board to cut.
Vermontville resident Shir Filler made a plea to School Board members March 7 to reinstate a full-time librarian at the Bloomingdale Elementary School, where her child attends classes. Right now the school has a part-time librarian.