Schoharie County school districts take different tacks with budgets

Friday, May 17, 2013
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— School taxes would increase anywhere from 1 to 3.92 percent in Schoharie County under school budget proposals voters will consider Tuesday.

The Sharon Springs Central School District is asking to boost the tax levy by 1 percent for 2013-14 under an $8.77 million budget that comes with a $77,934 spending increase.

Sharon Springs business manager Tony DiPace said that due to an expected decrease in special enrollment, staff cuts are planned, including a special education teacher, an elementary teacher, a teaching assistant and a part-time cafeteria employee.

He said the district’s total enrollment, however, may increase slightly next year because of new students.

“The kindergarten numbers look promising,” he said.

A nearby school district is taking a different approach, raising taxes more and not cutting its workforce.

Following several years of staff cuts, the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District preserves programs and staff under a $36.5 million budget calling for a 2.98 percent hike in the tax levy.

The district’s Board of Education used roughly $1.1 million in reserves to arrive at the current proposal — a step Superintendent Lynn Macan said isn’t sustainable.

“If we had to do that every year and nothing changes in the funding formula, like other districts we’re going to be at risk three to four years down the road,” he said.

Details of proposed budgets for other Schoharie County school districts as outlined in budget documents:

• Gilboa-Conesville: $9.87 million budget proposal reflects a 1.18 percent spending increase. Tax levy would be $6.1 million, a 2.25 percent increase.

• Jefferson: $6.1 million budget proposal would increase spending 0.85 percent. Tax levy would be $2.6 million, a 3 percent increase.

• Middleburgh: $20.27 million budget proposal would increase spending 0.63 percent. Tax levy of $8.7 million is 3.92 percent higher than this year.

• Schoharie: $21 million spending proposal would be 2.88 percent higher than this year’s budget. It would carry a tax levy of $9.3 million, a 2.8 percent increase.

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