Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School
The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board of Education will present a budget to district voters that comes in below the state tax levy cap.
Board members voted April 24 to adopt a 2013-14 spending plan that would call for $3,473,640 in revenue to come from district taxpayers, an increase of 3.99 percent ($133,280) from the $3,340,360 tax levy required for the 2012-13 budget.
The district tax levy cap as calculated based off a 2 percent increase base with several factors taken into account was set at 4.28 percent.
“We want to continue to respond to the state’s level of funding, not to react to it,” Superintendent Scott Osborne said. “We are always planning into the future with the budget. This year, the Legislature came through very well when they enacted the state aid, but we still fall into the same situation with about 95 percent of the public school districts that have less state aid funding then we did five or six years ago.”
The plan calls for $7,683,421 in spending, and increase of $262,226 (3.53 percent) from the 2012-13 total of $7,421,195.
Osborne said that the key areas of increase were health insurance (up $193,768), teacher’s retirement (up $78,394) and BOCES services (up $42,943).
He added that he and the board looked at the programs and services in the school and were able to find $287,350 in cost reductions as part of the adopted plan.
“We did look at all of our BOCES programs and there were some positions that we felt that we could accomplish in-house, which will help us save,” Osborne said. “We also saw a savings in the re-alignment of our administration and with attrition, which will continue to be a common business practice for us and a lot of schools.”
Osborne said that cuts were made with the intention to keep programs in place, although some may have to be scaled down.
“Programs are not being eliminated, because often when something is eliminated, it never comes back,” Osborne said. “The board saw areas where they could reduce some programs but not have to eliminate them completely.”
As part of the budget, $500,000 of fund balance will be used to help lessen the tax base, down from the $550,000 used last year.
“I would attribute that to the fiscal situation that is hitting almost every public school in the state, especially up here in the North Country districts,” Osborne said.
Along with the budget, voters will also be asked to consider the purchase of a 30-passenger bus by the district.
The public hearing on the adopted 2013-14 budget will take place Tuesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the school conference room. The budget vote will take place Tuesday, May 21, from noon until 8 p.m. at the school.