To the Times of Ti:
On April 19 the Ticonderoga Central School District adopted a proposed spending plan of $17,849,823 for the 2012-2013 school year. This plan is $1,148,124 less than the current budget and represents a 6.04 percent decrease in spending. The proposed budget will increase the tax levy by 3.5 percent but does stay within the 2 percent property tax cap formula, which takes effect this year. The estimated increase in taxes on a $100,000 home will be $38 based on current assessments and equalization rates.
The district has worked hard to include the community throughout this process and conducted many workshops, hearings and informational sessions since January. All the information presented during these forums can be found on the district website at ticonderogak12.org.
The budget includes a number of cuts to staff and program, but for the most part keeps programs for students intact. One factor that was critical in achieving this was a district-wide freeze on all wages and salaries, which saved $728,000 for the 2012-13 school year. This is the third consecutive year teachers and administrators have made concessions, and we are one of only four school districts in the entire state to do this. Concessions over the past three years have total over $1.1 million.
Over the past few weeks there has been some confusion about the cost related to the district’s health insurance plan. Recent articles (letters to the editor) refer to health insurance increases of 12 percent, however these costs are associated with a health insurance consortium that is not associated with Ticonderoga. Our district belongs to the Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington Consortium (CEWW), which consists of the 17 schools within our BOCES. The CEWW Consortium offers two plans, A and B. All of our active employees are enrolled in Plan B, and this plan is significantly less expensive that Plan A. The premiums for the 2012-2013 school year are: Plan B Family $16,704; Plan B Individual $6,418; Plan A Family $19,704; Plan A Individual $7,381.
All of our active employees contribute 10 percent toward this premium, and we are the only school district in our consortium that has all active employees enrolled in Plan B. It should also be pointed out that because the plan encourages employees to be better consumers of health care, the premiums for Plan B have not increased over the past two years. The board recognizes that health care is a tremendous liability for the district, and it will continue to work with its employees to reduce the exposure in the future for our taxpayers.
The vote on the proposed budget will be on May 15 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Ticonderoga High School lobby and Hague Community Center. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Central Office at 585-7400 ext. 1135, or visit the district’s website. The board would like to acknowledge the participation from residents thus far during this difficult budget process, and looks forward for continued feedback in the future.
Ticonderoga Central School
District Board of Education