BH-BL faces $2.2 M budget gap

Series of forums to kick of budgeting, district likely to raiseup to tax cap

Academic cuts are being considered, and there are also early indications that a few sports programs will change, specifically a $7,000 cost to add a third level of boys and girls lacrosse, which was not part of the preliminary budget.

During the public comment portion of the forum, Geoffrey Leggieri, a physical education teacher, and coach for the boys varsity tennis team andthe girls freshman soccer team took the opportunity to speak.

“Upcoming decisions that have to be made by the board will impact me from many perspectives...My fear is that as a community we will see these reductions on the upcoming tiered list of cuts…and not make the correlation that for each one of these cuts there are many things that are done behind the scenes by individual teachers that this district will lose,” he said.

Leggieri also mentioned cutbacks could impact events like thet hree-on-three middle school basketball tournament, which also raises items for the local food pantry every year.

Other items that are not included in the preliminary budget include a cost of $25,000 to replace a music lab that is 20 years old, response to intervention improvements, adding a summer curriculum time and allowing participation in the TEC-Smart program.

The district is examining raising the tax levy by between 2.3 and 2.7 percent, or the limit of the state’s new property tax cap. A higher taxhike could be made if 60 percent of the public votes in favor of it.

Schultz said if the community rejects the budget twice, a contingency plan would mean the loss of 18 staff positions.

The driving force behind which end of the threshold the tax levywill wind up on depends on the number of appeals to recent property assessments that come back to the town. If a good majority of those come back and are approved, the district will be on the hook for the difference, and will likely push the levy increase to the 2.7 percent mark.

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