S-G budget talks take off

$1.45 million in cuts needed for 2 percent tax increase

Scotia-Glenville Central School District would have to increase the tax rate by 7.7 percent to maintain all current programs and services offered, but district officials know that increase needs to be whittled down to meet taxpayers' and the governor's desires.

Superintendent Susan Swartz started preliminary 2011-2012 budget discussions during the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 14, and said state aid would be decreasing by $1,367,000, or 8 percent, for the district. To achieve a tax increase of 3 percent, Swartz said, the district would need to cut nearly $1.2 million. For each $256,000 in reductions, the tax rate would be reduced by 1 percent, with the carry forward budget totaling $47,912,029 and the almost 8 percent tax increase.

I need some sense of what is reasonable, said Swartz to the board. "If there are things that are non-starters for you, I would like to hear about that, but I will tell you tonight that I can't promise I will not go and reduce those things. We are in a very tough spot."

Most of the board members agreed to have a tax increase near 2 percent, which would serve as a trial for the district to meet the tax cap proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Also, board members seemed to agree on using around 2.5 percent of the district's designated fund balance to help offset the burden.

"The 2 percent is like a practice run at the tax cap," said John Yagielski, vice president of the BOE. "That is a value that is going to be approaching what we would likely have to do the following year, and I frankly think it is worthy of us to get our programs in a position that we can support at that level."

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