Press-Republican

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April 14, 2014

Lake Placid School tax levy up 2 percent

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Central School tax levy is set to go up 2.09 percent.

That amount comes under the tax-cap allowance, with a levy of $14,498,512.

The total 2014-15 budget is $17,634,834, up 2.14 percent from this school year.

Lake Placid received $2.5 million in state aid for next year.

COST FACTORS

School Superintendent Dr. Roger Catania said spending overall remained flat or decreased, except for three categories.

“There are two large employment (related) increases in this budget, all of which are fixed costs. One of them is retirement; the other is health insurance.”

Health insurance was up 4 percent, Catania said, which is less of an increase than in past years. Retirement costs increase 17 percent.

“Those two items combined brought about a $200,000 increase,” he said.

With the 2 percent tax-cap limit, any increase in mandated items that can’t be controlled by the district pushes cuts to other areas of the budget.

The other large budget increase for the district is for special education, which is up about $220,000.

“For us, those increases altogether represent $420,000 in additional costs.”

SALARY, STAFF CUTS

To balance the budget within the tax cap, Catania said, “we reduced salaries by about $60,000.”

The School Board is also trimming staff to the equivalent of 3.1 positions.

But the actual job changes would come through attrition and a combination of time cuts, Catania said.

“We are still working on the details of this,” the superintendent said Friday.

Another $30,000 in cuts was made to Board of Cooperative Educational Services programs.

“We’re certainly not cutting the required BOCES programs. But the others, such as support for technology, are part of cost-savings measures.

“We went in with a scalpel and a fine-toothed comb and looked at everything. Even if they were good services, if they were a lower priority, we were forced to cut.”

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