Plattsburgh City School voters will decide whether to make more cuts

PLATTSBURGH — Tired of gutting their educational system, Plattsburgh City School officials drew a line in the sand.

They are turning to the public to find out what the community will support before they make any more budget cuts.

If the community passes the budget, what is left and hasn’t already been cut will remain in the city’s public education system. If the public votes it down, they may vote on another budget or the district could adopt a contingency budget, which would mean roughly $1.2 million more in education cuts.

If the budget is defeated twice, the school board must adopt a contingency budget with strict spending limitations and cuts that would significantly alter Plattsburgh's schools.

“That would change the very nature of this district,” said board member Fred Wachtmeister.

District residents can vote on May 15, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Duken, Momot and Bailey buildings.

School officials are requesting that community members fill out an exit poll that will help guide them in future budgetary decisions.

Plattsburgh City School adopted a 2012-13 budget that totaled $38,388,474, a decrease of 0.03 percent from the current spending plan.

It carries a tax-levy increase of 5.82 percent.

The district’s tax-levy increase is capped by the state at 3.01 percent, which means the 2012-13 spending plan must garner approval from at least 60 percent of voters.

The tax rate is estimated to increase from $21.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $22.62.

Revenues in the spending plan were down nearly 4 percent, and state aid has dropped considerably over the years while costs have soared.

“We have to live within the budget lines if this budget is passed,” said Superintendent James “Jake” Short. “We may have to make cuts mid-year just to adjust to anything that comes up.”

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