Port Henry After several years of struggling to meet the state-mandated tax cap, Moriah Central School caught a break as it prepared its proposed 2013-14 budget.
“Our state aid actually increased,” Superintendent Bill Larrow said. “It was a welcome surprise. It really helped a lot.”
Moriah’s state aid for next academic year is up $318,520.
Coupled with the retirement of a $400,000 building debt, the district started its budget planning more than $700,000 better off than it was a year ago.
“Being able to decease our debt service and the jump in state aid really helped,” Larrow said. “This year is much better than the past few years.”
The proposed 2013-14 Moriah budget totals $15,013,565. That’s $157,173 less — 1 percent — than the current spending plan of $15,170,738.
The proposed amount to be raised by taxes in the proposed budget is $3,769,404. That’s $76,591 more — 2.1 percent — than the current tax levy of $3,692,813.
Larrow pointed out that while state aid has increased from a year ago, it’s still $374,000 less than it was five years ago.
Voters will have their say on the budget proposal Tuesday, May 21, 1 to 8 p.m. in the central office lobby.
Larrow said the proposed spending plan maintains all school programs. One special education position will be eliminated through attrition and employee health insurance costs will be down next year because of a new plan.
Teachers and support staff will receive 3 percent pay increases next year, while administrators will get a 2 percent pay hike.
“I think it’s a good budget, a fair budget,” Larrow said. “Everything in our academic program, our distance learning lab, athletics, drama, music, art — everything — is in tact.
“We’re extremely happy to be able to provide all services to our students,” he said. “Fortunately, we haven’t needed to eliminate any extracurricular activities.”