Minerva Voters Tuesday, June 18 approved the Minerva and Newcomb school budgets four weeks after they denied spending plans that exceeded the state’s mandated tax cap.
As such, each district on May 21 needed a supermajority of 60 percent to pass the budgets but fell short. This time, Minerva Central School asked voters to approve a budget below the tax cap, yet Newcomb Central School once again asked voters to approve a budget above the tax cap.
In Newcomb, the June 18 budget vote was 204 yes and 49 no (81 percent), according to School Superintendent Skip Hults. The proposition to buy a $50,000 school bus passed by a vote of 189 yes and 60 no.
“I thought the community made a very loud statement,” Hults said.
Hults said he believes that a major factor getting the budget passed this time was an agreement last week by the teachers and staff to take a pay freeze during the 2013-14 school year.
“I think the community appreciated that,” Hults said.
In Minerva, the June 18 budget passed by a vote of 183 yes and 106 no, according to School Superintendent Tim Farrell.
If the budgets didn’t pass this time, the school boards would have been required to adopt contingency budgets, which would have meant even more cuts.
In Newcomb, the School Board cut $405,470 in spending from the originally proposed plan but kept the tax levy increase above the state mandated cap of 6.94 percent. District officials will be spending the following weeks trying to figure out how these cuts translate into offering local children an education.
“What you cut on paper, you now have to make it work in the school day,” Hults said. “That means I have less staff. I have to figure out how to cover students’ needs. I’m going to have less supplies and textbooks. I have to meet with the teachers and try to do a give and take and how can we make this work for all of us.”