Newcomb, Minerva work on cutting budgets

— The Newcomb and Minerva school districts are sharing more than sports teams this spring; they’re sharing the pain caused by defeated school budgets.

The 2013-14 budgets for the other True North school districts — Indian Lake, Long Lake and Johnsburg — were approved by voters on May 21.

In Newcomb, the School Board set up a series of town hall meetings to get public input before deciding how to trim the budget and tax levy, according to School Superintendent Skip Hults.

“We really do believe in the voice of the community,” Hults said.

The first public meeting was held on Thursday, May 23, with the second scheduled for Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. and the third on Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m., all at the school. The public hearing is expected to take place on Tuesday, June 11.

In addition, Newcomb school officials are sending out a survey to residents to find out their priorities.

On May 21, the Newcomb Central School District placed a 2013-14 budget on the ballot that included a 24.8 percent increase in the tax levy, well above the 6.94 percent increase allowed by the state. A 60 percent supermajority is needed among the electorate for school budgets that exceed the tax levy limit allowable by the state.

Before the vote, Hults recognized the sizable increase in the tax levy but said it was necessary in order to keep programs in place.

“We have worked so diligently to build a growing, vibrant school district, and if we were to do anything less, we would totally destroy what we’ve been working so hard to create over the last seven years,” Hults said prior to May 21. “And the board was unanimous … they were unwilling to do that. We just feel like we can’t undo the programs we’ve created. We’re working hard to do a college program, the international program. We’re working hard to increase the quality of our technology in education … We can’t start moving backwards right now.”

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