Press-Republican

May 6, 2013

SCSD board-approved budget adds positions

By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
Press-Republican

---- — SARANAC — The Saranac Central School Board unanimously approved a proposed 2013-14 budget that calls for the creation of more staff positions.

In addition, said Saranac Central Superintendent Ken Cringle, “it certainly maintains all programs and services.”

The $31,503,754 spending plan, which was adopted at a recent meeting, is 1.96 percent less than the district’s budget for the current school year and carries a tax-levy increase of 3.7 percent.

This is well below the school’s calculated levy limit of 5.62 percent, Cringle noted.

GROWING ENROLLMENT

In response to a modest increase in elementary enrollment over the last two years, the spending plan includes funding for two more full-time elementary teachers and two part-time clerical positions.

The budget, Cringle said, also allows for the creation of a part-time special-education position at the Middle School, a 0.5 technology position and additional administrative support to assist with state-mandated teacher evaluations, as well as the implementation of Common Core Standards.

In addition, $35,000 would be allocated to enhancing district security for the protection of students and staff.

PROGRAMS INTACT

While the board-approved plan keeps all student offerings intact, a decrease in high-school enrollment will allow SCSD to realize some savings by sending fewer students to Champlain Valley Educational Services in 2013-14.

That, combined with a modest increase in state aid, decreases in debt payment from longstanding construction costs and anticipated energy-cost savings from Saranac Central’s ongoing capital-improvement project, will help the school to offset the rising costs of employee benefits, health insurance and salaries.

The budget also calls for the allocation of $2.8 million in fund balance, according to Cringle.

BUS, VAN PURCHASES

Along with the spending plan, up for vote on Tuesday, May 21, voters will act on a proposition to purchase two 65-passenger buses, one 21-passenger handicap-accessible bus and one school van for a total of $373,288.

The purchases would be partially funded by state aid, Cringle said, and any remaining balance would be covered by the bus reserve fund.

“There literally isn’t any added cost to the tax payer,” he said.

Saranac Central will hold a public budget hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Middle/High School Auditorium.

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com