Press-Republican

Education

May 15, 2014

Tax levy for Tupper Lake School increases 1.06%

TUPPER LAKE — The Tupper Lake Central School budget, which trims some staff, proposes a tax levy up 1.06 percent.

The increase is at the allowed maximum tax cap, according to the state calculation.

The proposed amount to be raised by taxes for the coming school year is $7,667,982, with total proposed spending at $16,856,468, a decrease of 0.83 percent.

THREE JOBS CUT

Eliminated by the spending plan are one pre-kindergarten aide, one art teacher and one of two librarian jobs.

The budget also pares back athletic exhibition travel.

“I think the budget is as responsible as it could be,” Superintendent Seth McGowan said of the challenging process.

“We had the goal of maintaining student programming and staying under the tax cap."

The budget leaves one librarian for the entire district.

"We are not happy to lose the art and library jobs,” he said, describing how library and research are being built into teaching models. 

“This is a step backwards for us. But you can’t argue with a budget that’s less than current spending. We wish we could keep those positions. 

"On a total impact to students, it was the least of the bad options that we had.”

ATHLETIC REDUCTIONS

Cuts to athletic programs will be determined in the coming months.

Tupper Lake had already removed junior-varsity programs for the present school year.

“We have an Athletic Advisory Committee. It would most likely be sports tournament travel and non-league, preseason games," McGowan said.

EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS

The proposed budget looks to rebuild fund balance that was nearly drained last year.

Doing so, McGowan said, will remove the district from "the financially stressed list.”

Contracts for teachers are in place through the end of the 2014-15 school year, allowing a 2 percent pay increase next school year.

“Support staff are also receiving a 3.5 percent pay increase in their contract, which ends at the end of the '15-16 school year,” the superintendent said.

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