SARANAC — Saranac Central School’s 2014-15 budget calls for minimal cuts and a tax-levy increase below the district’s limit.
The $31,725,416 spending plan was approved by the School Board at a recent meeting and represents an increase of less than 1 percent over the current year’s budget, according to Superintendent Ken Cringle.
While the district’s tax-levy limit for next year has been calculated at 1.71 percent, the proposed budget calls for a levy increase of 1.5 percent, he told the Press-Republican.
To offset increases in fixed costs, such as health-insurance and Teacher Retirement System rates, Cringle noted, the plan calls for the elimination of two full-time secondary substitute teaching positions.
“The staffing adjustment is aligned directly to a decrease in enrollment,” he said.
In addition, Cringle continued, the school anticipates having fewer students with disabilities next year, resulting in decreased costs related to programs and services for those students.
“Decreased energy costs related to our recent capital projects and salary leveling due to an increase in retirements are factors helping to control rising expenditures, as well,” he said.
Included in the proposal is funding for a school resource officer to be shared with Beekmantown Central School.
“Primary duties and responsibilities will be to support and foster a safe and secure school environment,” Cringle said.
“The SRO (school resource officer) will also work with staff to educate the students on the importance of making appropriate and healthy life decisions throughout life.”
SCSD anticipates a state-aid increase of about $500,000 in 2014-15.
However, the superintendent noted, the district is losing $1,671,799 in aid next school year to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, money the state has withheld from districts annually for the past several years.
“This equates to over $11 million aid lost since 2010 -2011,” Cringle said.
The budget calls for the appropriation of $2.2 million in reserves, and about $2 million in unrestricted fund balance is projected to remain at the end of 2014-15.