Press-Republican

Education

April 20, 2014

CCRS spending proposal maintains programs

CHAZY — Chazy Central Rural School plans to use fund balance to maintain programs for students in 2014-15.

At a recent meeting, the School Board adopted a $10,230,600 spending plan for next year that does not require any cuts to programs or staff and carries a tax-levy increase at the district’s 3.1 percent limit. 

The proposed budget, however, relies on the use of $1,170,000 in reserve funds. 

The district’s combined costs relating to salaries, special education and Teacher Retirement System and health-insurance rates are expected to increase a total of $363,900 in 2014-15, CCRS Superintendent John Fairchild told attendees of a recent public presentation at the school. 

Though the school anticipates receiving more state aid next year than in 2013-14, it is projected to lose $407,190 in funding to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which allows the state to withhold a portion of funding from schools on an annual basis. 

Including next year’s projected adjustment, Fairchild said, his school has lost $2.8 million in aid since 2010-11. 

However, CCRS will receive $291,000 from the William H. Miner Foundation in 2014-15, according to the superintendent. 

Still, the elimination adjustment, combined with the state’s tax-levy limit and newly approved property-tax freeze, he noted, has created budgetary challenges. 

The tax freeze, Fairchild explained, promises to reimburse tax increases to some residents of districts and municipalities that remain under their tax-levy limit. 

“One one level, this is nice for community members, but it makes it even tougher for schools and towns,” he said. 

Previous year’s spending plans, Fairchild noted, have already reduced staff to an appropriate size for the current student population and grade-level needs.

To balance the budget proposal for the upcoming year, he continued, about $120,000 of additional requests for funds were removed from the plan and use of fund balance was increased.

“We’ve been using up fund balance for the last three or four years, and we can only spend that money once,” Fairchild told the Press-Republican. 

Chazy Central’s goal is to continue to lead the North Country in academic excellence, he said during the presentation, and the district is open to cost-saving suggestions and ideas from the community for the future. 

“If anybody has ideas, they can share them with me at any time,” Fairchild said. 

EmailAshleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com

3.1% CCRS tax-levy increase

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