For the Moriah Central School District, the diet remains lean yet the belt continued to tighten.
Superintendent Bill Larrow said increases in retirement and insurance coupled with the loss of state aid have made the 2014-15 budget process another long one for he, the business office and the board of education.
“We had a very tight budget again this year,” Larrow said. “We have lost $2.4 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) since the 2010 school year. We have experienced a large increase in retirement and had an increase in our special education services this year with new students and additional services needed.”
The 2014-15 spending plan adopted by the school board calls for a 4.56 percent increase in appropriations from $15,013,565 in 2013-14 to $15,697,757 in 2014-15.
The budget would lead to a proposed tax levy increase of $100,688 - 2.67 percent - from $3,769,404 to $3,870,092. The increase is at the threshold for the amount allowed by the New York State tax levy cap formula.
“We have always been under the cap,” Larrow said. “We are very fortunate we have not had to cut arts or music programs. There are no program cuts.”
Cuts would include one full time teaching position that would be eliminated through attrition and a full time bus driver/custodian that will not be hired for the 2014-15 school year.
The plan would call for an estimated tax rate of $18.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value, up from the 2013-14 tax rate of $17.93.
Voters will also be asked to approve a proposition for the district to purchase two buses and one passenger van.
Larrow said the district will continue to look at ways to consolidate services with the town and local school districts.
“We share services as much as possible and we look at ways to help each other here in the community and with other school districts,” Larrow said.
Overall, Larrow said the district is in good shape for the moment.
“We are still in a good position financially as a district, but every year is different and you can face different, difficult challenges,” he said. “We are constantly looking to ensure that we are utilizing our staff to the best of their abilities and giving the services that are what our students need.”
Voting on the 2014-15 school budget will take place at the school from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 20.