Tupper Lake’s tax levy is about half that of neighboring districts in the Tri-Lakes, McGowan noted.
“But their tax base is four to five times larger than ours. The levy at other Tri-Lakes schools is actually twice what Tupper Lake’s is, but the rate per $1,000 is lower because the tax base is so large.”
The school tax rate is estimated to come in next year at $13.20 per $1,000 of property value, a $1.02 increase.
“That tax rate is still lower than it was four years ago. And we are $5 or $6 per $1,000 below state average,” McGowan said.
“The district is already sharing services where it can. We have an agreement with Long Lake for bus repairs. We buy a shared service through BOCES for school computer technicians.
“We’ve been as creative as possible. We’ve been very thorough, looking at every possible option.”
If the budget is not approved on Tuesday, McGowan said, additional cuts will be required.
“We’re really teetering on the edge of educational insolvency. That means, if we have many more cuts, we’re not going to be able to satisfy requirements of State Education Department for graduation. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a few more cuts resulting in the loss of courses we offer.
“At the elementary school, there are all sorts of new requirements for assessments. Cuts there would threaten our students’ ability to be successful in that process.”
The vote includes a proposition to purchase two school buses at a cost not to exceed $230,500. But it is not in addition to the tax levy or to the budget, McGowan said.
“We are in a bus-recycling program, and already included in the budget is the interest we would pay for those buses. Our credit rating is good, and we borrow at a 1 percent or 2 percent interest rate.”
The budget and School Board vote is noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Tupper Lake High School.
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