Lake Placid High School
Faced with negotiated spending increases on salaries and benefits and the state’s new tax cap, Lake Placid Central School officials made budget cuts this spring.
After a sixth budget work session April 3, the Lake Placid School Board is set to put a budget before voters that features $30,000 sliced from busing outlays, $12,000 cut from sports spending and $45,000 cut from spending on summer school, as well as the elimination of one elementary school classroom teaching position.
The proposed budget comes in under the state’s new tax levy increase cap, which for Lake Placid is 1.8 percent, and includes a $300,000 transfer from the school’s fund balance (revenue previously saved for emergency situations).
The fund balance transfer is a critical component of the board’s efforts to minimize tax increases while maintaining regular services.
The total proposed budget is $16,820,021, which represents a 1.5 percent increase in spending over the current budget.
The budget eliminates spending on the Board of Cooperative Educational Services’ (BOCES) Blackboard program. District Superintendent Randy Richards said Blackboard, an online storehouse for course information, is underutilized and costs $3,619 annually.
The budget also cuts $15,000 from spending on consultants and $22,900 in spending on BOCES curriculum development services.
“We had someone working with us to help us with our committee on special education and our positive behavior intervention framework as a consultant, and instead of working five days a month, she’ll work one or two days a month,” said Richards. “We’ll be more selective with the projects that we work on. That’s the nature of this budget: We compacted everything close to the margins.”
The proposed budget includes $8,750 in new spending for online courses, which Richards said will cover 25 $350 course fees. The board is enthusiastic about the prospect of expanded online course offerings.
“From carburetors to advanced physics, they ought to find something that interests them,” said board member Jerry Blair. “That’s what colleges are looking for and that’s the way new careers have been going.”
“It’s an invaluable experience,” said board Secretary Jill Cardinale Seeger. “Every senior should know how to take an online course and feel comfortable with it.”
Richards said the decision to cut the elementary school teacher’s job is based on projected enrollment figures. Richards said the grade has about 44 students and is currently staffed by three teachers.
When questioned about enrollment figures by the board, Richards said the district loses about 10 students a year. The District’s enrollment peaked at 947 students in 1999; Richards said that figure dropped as low as 701 this school year and that he hopes expanded online course offerings will help stem the number of students leaving the school system.