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March 24, 2013

P'burgh City School talks health-insurance costs

(Continued)

The board expressed support for the idea, and member Steve Krieg said he felt it would be foolish for the district not to learn more about its health-insurance options if there is potential to save money.

“We wouldn’t be good financial stewards if we didn’t look carefully at it,” he said, “so I think we should have a forum ... hopefully, we’ll get some good input from the public.”

AWAITING STATE BUDGET

Short had said earlier this month that the district was anticipating a $1.2 million budget gap for next school year, though that figure was dependent on the board approving a 2.5 percent tax-levy increase and the use of $1.9 million in fund balance.

At last week’s meeting however, he said that gap stood to decrease as a result of changes to the public-school aid in the yet-to-be-passed state budget and certain costs districts must bear.

Without knowing any details yet, he shelved budget discussions at the session. He said he expected to gain better understanding over the weekend of how the state’s budgetary decisions would affect Plattsburgh City School’s finances.

Still, Short said, “my goal is to see if I can still offer to you a budget that does not reduce any current standing program that we have.”

PRINCIPAL TO RETIRE

Short did, however, ask the board to indicate the amount of increase in the tax levy it felt appropriate for the coming school year.

Though the district’s levy limit has been calculated at 5.33 percent, many board members either said they felt comfortable with a 2.5 percent increase or would prefer a lower number, while they also wished to preserve programs.

“I’d like to see zero percent (increase) in the tax levy, but I don’t want to see programs cut more than they’ve already been cut,” Krieg said.  

Wachtmeister, however, said he would be comfortable setting the tax levy at the district’s limit.  

It was also announced at the meeting that Stafford Middle School Principal Patricia Amo will retire from her post, which she has held for nine years, on July 2. 

Short said her departure would result in “the loss of a great person” from the district.

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com

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