Aid increase allows Saratoga Springs school district to cut tax hike, save jobs

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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— The Saratoga Springs City School District will raise its tax levy less than initially planned in 2013-14, after receiving $1.5 million more in state aid than expected.

District officials initially projected the amount of property taxes it collects would increase by 3.9 percent from this school year. With the infusion of the unexpected state aid, the district expects to increase the tax levy by 2.9 percent, to $74.7 million, district officials said this week.

The district’s final state aid figure for 2013-14 is $28.6 million, as compared with the $27.1 million initially projected in the governor’s proposed budget. State aid in the current budget is $28.2 million.

A copy of the budget is available on the Around Saratoga blog.

The Board of Education is expected to adopt a final 2013-14 budget of $112.6 million when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Saratoga Springs High School. The public will vote on the budget proposal May 21.

Superintendent Michael Piccirillo said at this week’s school board meeting that the unexpected state aid increase was helpful in restoring positions cut from earlier budget drafts. He added, however, that state and federal revenue coming to the district will continue to decrease in coming years.

“We will continue to cost-contain. We have to be careful,” Piccirillo said.

The state aid increase allowed district officials to retain two assistant tennis coaches, a seventh-grade football coach and an assistant bowling coach. These positions were scheduled to be eliminated to save $24,200 in the 2013-14 budget.

The only coaching position not restored was the freshman lacrosse coach.

Members of the Saratoga Springs High School tennis team attended Tuesday’s school board meeting at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School to thank the board members for restoring their coaches.

The additional state money will also allow the district to retain an English language arts teacher, a special education teacher and a technology teacher who were all scheduled for elimination, said Douglas Silvernell, the district’s assistant superintendent for 21st century teaching and learning.

Piccirillo said the district has not yet developed individual 2013-14 tax rates for the city of Saratoga Springs and the five towns in the district. District officials are still awaiting information on property assessments from the various municipalities before they can calculate the rates.

The projected tax levy increase of 2.9 percent could mean an average tax rate increase of the same percentage, but each town and the city will have slightly different rate increases.

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