Local News

May 26, 2013

Tupper plans more budget cuts

TUPPER LAKE — Budget defeat here means revisiting cuts.

The proposed $17.2 million budget failed at the polls on May 21 with 685 “no” to 512 “yes” votes.

The planned tax-levy increase of 8.35 percent stood 3.59 points above the state’s tax-cap allowance of 4.76 percent, requiring a 60 percent or better super-majority for passage.

But “no” votes were the majority here.

Voters also shot down the plan to buy a new school bus.


Tupper Lake Central School District Superintendent Seth McGowan said the administration has held several meetings to redress the spending plan.

He has said repeatedly that schools cannot cut their way out of what is becoming deficit-spending. And the district applied much of its reserve fund balance to reach the initial budget.

Nearly all school budgets are labor-intensive, meaning mandated cost increases come from salaries, pension cost increases and from the rising cost of health care.

“The administrative team is working on revisions now,” McGowan said Friday.


But what will revisions mean?

“It’s going to mean we are going to have fewer teachers. We’re going to have fewer programs,” McGowan said, noting the School Board will probably hold a special budget meeting this week.

“And at the June 3 meeting, which is a regular School Board meeting, the board will adopt the revised budget.”

Another public hearing on the budget is already set for 6 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School library.

“To get to the tax cap, we need to reduce spending by $262,000. That’s a lot for us. I’ve said many times, you can’t cut your way out of the budget problem,” McGowan said.


The district faces nearly $1 million in additional mandates for employee benefits next year, he said.

State pension contributions in the district are going up $328,000 next year, or 16.25 percent. And health insurance for employees is increasing $552,000 next year, despite the fact that the district buys with the BOCES purchase agreement.

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