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June 9, 2013

Newcomb, Minerva, Tupper Lake schools offer reduced budgets

NEWCOMB — Newcomb, Minerva and Tupper Lake central school districts had all asked voters to approve 2013-14 budgets that topped the state’s 2 percent tax-levy cap.

They all needed a 60 percent super-majority to override the cap at the polls in May; Newcomb passed but didn’t reach that figure, and voters shot down the Tupper Lake and Minerva budgets.

Now, all three districts will be offering voters revised budgets for a second try on Tuesday, June 18.

Minerva and Tupper Lake pared their budgets to come in under the cap for the revote, while Newcomb made reductions but still doesn’t meet the tax cap.

NEWCOMB CENTRAL

Newcomb Superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults said they’ve heard from residents that they don’t want them to go below the tax cap.

“‘Can you give us something in between?’ is what they’ve been asking,” he said.

The Newcomb budget proposed now would increase the tax levy 12.7 percent, instead of the 24 percent hike that failed to win voter approval the first time around.

The tax cap for Newcomb is 6.94 percent, so this budget will also require a 60 percent super-majority vote.

Voters supported the first effort 111-104, which was a simple majority but not the super-majority needed to pass.

The tax levy is $4.1 million in the revised budget. The total spending plan is $5.4 million, a 2.72 percent increase of $143,000 over the current plan.

The budget would set a tentative Homestead Act tax rate of $2.81 per $1,000 of assessment, a 1-cent decrease; the non-Homestead rate would be $14.55, a 55-cent increase.

Newcomb cut its Distance Learning Program, plus spending for school supplies and textbooks, extracurricular programs and building maintenance to reduce the budget $400,000 for the new proposal.

Two teaching assistants and a combined teacher-teaching assistant post would be eliminated through layoffs, and a special-education teacher would be reduced through attrition.

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