Bethlehem Central High School
continued Douglas said the projected state aid is nearly the same as that distributed five years ago, yet costs have risen and districts are facing additional unfunded mandates each year.
“We have to face that the federal and state cavalry is not coming,” said Kehoe.
To keep the same level of services without reductions, the district would have to make a nearly 11 percent increase in the tax levy, which officials said would be an untenable request to residents in these hard economic times.
Douglas called the term “tax cap” a misnomer that can be misleading to residents since the levy can extend past a 2 percent increase.
“There is no such thing as a cap on taxes,” he said, adding the district is now referring to the law as a “levy limit.”
“That's really the law. It decides what amount of voter support do you need for each levy that's put before the public,” he said.
Numbers may change slightly as the formula evolves over time, but the district must have its numbers into the state by March 1.
Kehoe said some additional money could be found with the sale of the Educational Services Center. The district is also considering renting Clarksville Elementary School to the county Sheriff’s Office.
“The solution has to be for the betterment of the whole community, not just for what we (the district) thinks it is,” Douglas said. “We need to all look at solutions together as a whole.”
A presentation of the budget will be given at the next Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and a budget forum will be held on Feb. 28. The board will adopt a budget in April and the public will vote on it in May.