The Saugerties Central School District Board of Education adopted a 2011-2012 budget that increases spending by 2.53 percent over the current year’s budget. The tax levy –the amount to be raised through local property taxes – is projected to increase by 1.87 percent over this year, putting it under the new two-percent tax cap. The estimated tax rate for Saugerties is $17.66 per $1,000, up 32 cents.
Total spending is projected at $54.7 million. This year’s budget was $53.3 million.
Voters will have their say on the budget Tuesday, May 15. They voted against last year’s budget proposal twice, with the resulting spending plan ending up below the state’s austerity levels.
The amount to be raised by local property taxes is projected at $35.2 million, up $645,094.
The budget preserves all major programs, including sports, school superintendent Seth Turner said. It cuts two English as a second language teaching positions and an elementary school teaching position. While the cost of outsourcing the ESL program to BOCES is almost the same as the salary savings, the district saves on fringe benefits. In addition, an administrative position – data administrator – will be eliminated from the budget for next year, along with five part-time monitors.
The budget preserves the school’s extracurricular programs, Turner said. However, he warned, if the budget is defeated, the district would not be able to spend any more than it did this year. In order to meet the cap, the district would be unable to fill two vacant high school positions, and reduce two elementary teachers. Class sizes would almost certainly increase. The budget for sports would also be reduced, he said.
While many area school districts are cutting far more than Saugerties, or asking voters to allow them to exceed the state-mandated tax cap, Saugerties is in relatively good shape, and is asking for an increase well within the limit, said Turner.
He’s hoping voters will agree.