Press-Republican

Local News

May 13, 2013

School tax levy is expected to rise 3.5% in Beekmantown

BEEKMANTOWN — The Beekmantown Central School Board has approved a 2013-14 budget that cuts some positions but maintains the majority of student offerings. 

The $37,773,998 spending plan was adopted at a recent meeting and requires the reduction of $327,000 worth of personnel, including the equivalent of one full-time social studies teacher and 0.2 of the district’s physical education director position.

In addition, the equivalent of two full-time science teachers and one custodial position would be eliminated through attrition.

Beekmantown Central Superintendent Scott Amo told the Press-Republican last month that, while the reduction in science teachers would minimally affect class offerings, the social-studies reduction would not. 

In addition, the retirements of the equivalent of six full-time instructional and 10 full-time non-instructional staff will allow the district to hire replacements at lower salaries. 

Included in the plan is funding for the installation of cameras and door locks to increase safety throughout the district, as well as increased technology support for state assessments. 

The school also plans to allocate $1,065,000 in reserves for 2013-14, leaving only about $900 of fund balance beyond what the school is legally allowed to retain. 

According to state real property tax law, school districts may retain in reserves up to 4 percent of their next year’s operating budget.

Though BCSD has an allowable tax-levy limit of 4.2 percent, the School Board approved a 3.5 percent levy increase for next school year. 

However, the levy amount is not officially set until August and could decrease if the district realizes savings as a result of contract negotiations with its collective bargaining groups. 

“That’s a major player,” Amo told the Press Republican in a separate interview. 

Such negotiations are currently taking place with the district’s Teachers’ Association, Support Staff Association and Support Staff Supervisors’ Association. 

The district will hold a public budget hearing 7 p.m. Tuesday in the High School Auditorium. This will follow the regular board meeting set for 6:15 p.m. in the Middle/High School Library. 

The spending plan will go up for public vote 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in the Middle School Gymnasium. 

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com

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