POTSDAM - Potsdam Central Superintendent Patrick H. Brady outlined a budget proposal with a 3.99 percent tax levy increase that would fully close the districts $1.2 million budget gap at this weeks school board meeting.
With a series of cuts proposed by Mr. Brady but not yet acted on by the board, the districts superintendent said he has the districts budget gap reduced to $221,631. The proposal presented to the board earlier this month included cuts to two elementary positions via attrition, but with the impact that would have on class size only one position is now on the chopping block.
While the restoration of that position increased the gap, two other changes, fuel bids coming in $11,000 less than expected andan increase in contributions to the New Year State Teachers Retirement System was reduced from 16.5 percent to 16.25 percent, impacted the spending plan.
While it may not sound like a lot, Mr. Brady said the 0.25 percent difference in the pension contribution equates to $18,250 in savings.
Mr. Bradys proposed cuts, which total $995,562, include a social studies teacher at $54,611, science teacher at $89,041, math teacher (through attrition) at $80,211, English teacher at $79,005, part-time French teacher at $39,702, a music teacher (through attrition) at $93,170, an elementary teacher (through attrition) at $88,670, high school teaching assistant (through attrition) at $21,250, special education teacher (through attrition) at $62,906 and a physical education teacher (through attrition) at $46,959.
Other cuts include $299,723 in BOCES services through taking back services theyre currently paying BOCES for, $11,990 in food services, $3,407 for the Lawrence Avenue Math Lab and $24,817 for the summer school at Lawrence Avenue Elementary.
After that, Mr. Brady said hes not sure what do.
We still have a little time left to decide, he said. We know we will be seeing increased money from the state, which could eat into that (the remaining budget gap).
Mr. Brady said he would likely then recommend taking whatever is left out of the districts fund balance and reserves to close the remaining gap.
Currently the district is planning to use $1.45 million in fund balance and reserves to support the 2013-2014 budget,which without any cuts officially being made yet totals $27.9 million.
Should the board the elect to adopt his proposal, the budget would carry a 3.99 percent tax levy increase, well below the 4.72 percent increase theyre allowed under tax cap regulations this year.
At a community forum this week, Mr. Brady offered a breakdown of the districts major expenditures - $6,904,097 for teaching and supervision, $5,293,992 for health insurance, $3,877,759 for special education, $3,128,172 in bond payments, $2,724,592 in retirement contributions, $1,885,922 in utilities, operations and maintenance, $1,068,176 in transportation, $495,635 for computers, internet, software and support, $208,429 for its business office, $195,083 for its district office and $24,100 for its board of education and district clerk.
Its not everything, but those are some of the main drivers, he said, noting health care costs alone make up 19.7 percent of the districts budget.