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Schalmont asking for 1.9 percent tax hike

Budget cuts $310,000, including eight full-time equivalent positions

— Schalmont district officials not only stayed within a tax cap of 2.33 percent for next school year’s budget, it came below the often-advertised 2 percent limit.

The Schalmont Board of Education on Monday, April 16, unanimously adopted a $42.9 million 2012-13 budget that increases spending by $155,000, or 0.37 percent. The budget includes the elimination of 8.23 full-time equivalent employee positions.

Board President Sandra Beloncik, board Vice President Gregory Campoli and member Kevin Thompson were absent from the meeting.

An increase in state aid projections totaling more than $161,000 was used to restore the elementary school summer literacy program previously slated for elimination. The remainder of the aid will be used to offset fund reserve usage.

Board member Michael Della Villa said he was proud of the board’s work to keep the tax rate “as low as possible” without losing academic programs.

“I think this particular budget is a very good budget,” Della Villa said.

Fellow member Albert Falcone echoed Della Villa and said he is pleased there weren’t any cuts to programs.

“Every year it is going to get harder and harder, so we just stay focused and continue to do the job we are all doing,” Falcone said.

Constant drops in enrollment have driven changes at the elementary school level, with only one of three schools remaining open after merging to Jefferson this school year. The best-case scenario for the district is for enrollment to stabilize and not continue declining, said Superintendent Valerie Kelsey.

The current school year enrollment fell below estimates with 1,877 students enrolled as opposed to the projected 1,895. The projected enrollment for the 2012-13 school year is 1,874 students. Kelsey previously said she expects the district to fall below next year’s estimates.

Declining enrollment have led to reductions in teaching staff, with the adopted budget eliminating two full-time equivalent positions. Those reductions include several minor cuts to nine positions, which are reduced from 0.2 FTE to 0.5 FTE.

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