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State increases leads to stable budget for Keene

— The Keene Central School Board of Education has adopted a budget that will be under the state’s tax levy cap for 2013-14.

Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston said that the district was helped greatly by the final state budget runs.

“Given the governor’s original proposal for state aid, the gap faced by the district would have necessitated cuts in programs and staff,” Johnston said in a media statement. “Once the state budget and all costs were finalized the spending plan came together well. Student needs will be met, programs will remain intact and the district can remain below the tax cap limits for one more year.”

The adopted spending plan calls for $5,564,347 up $217,368 from the 2012-13 budget of $5,346,979, an increase of 4.07 percent.

The adopted budget, which will be voted on by district residents Tuesday, May 21, would require a tax levy of $4,626,542, up $156,615 from the 2012-13 total levy of $4,469,927, which results in a 3.50 percent increase, which is below the district’s tax levy cap threshold.

Johnston said a lot of work went into the budget that will be presented to voters.

“The support and infrastructure are sufficient but remain lean,” she said. “Every expense is scrutinized and compared to others to determine if it is necessary. This budget supports programs consistent with those of prior years. Employee agreements for health insurance changes continue to save the district from increased cost for a second year. No large purchases are planned for the coming year. Under this spending plan, our school will operate and provide programs that mirror this year.”

Johnston also said that future planning has been put in place, including what can be done through multiple school districts.

“Talks continue between districts as to what might be shared or streamlined to improve opportunities for our students and/or decrease cost,” she said. “These discussions and the resulting changes will continue. The long-term sustainability of our district depends on the success of these efforts. I encourage everyone who cares about the future of KCS and education in our region to become an active participation in these talks.”

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