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April 18, 2013

Milford Central School holds off on adopting budget

The Milford Central School board of education has yet to adopt a budget for the 2013-14 school year. The action to do so has been tabled until the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 25. 

At the April 11 meeting, Superintendent Peter Livshin recommended a budget that would have a 4.68 percent increase from the 2012-13 spending plan of $9,033,363. If his proposal is adopted, the tax levy would be increased by 3.81 percent — the maximum cap threshold set by the state before needing a supermajority vote for approval. 

According to Livshin, the district found itself in the hole by more than $450,000 at the beginning of the budget process. Livshin said he anticipates having to cut three full-time teachers, one licensed teacher aid and seven aids. MCS also will not replace two teachers who plan to retire. 

Other things school officials have discussed cutting include non-varsity sports, building usage after school hours, a part-time librarian that is contracted through the Northern Otsego Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services and providing incentives to teachers who are eligible to retire.

The district chose to use $500,000 in reserves last year to stay below the 2 percent cap. Livshin said the board could still chose to stay below the cap and go with a proposal that calls for a 2.84 tax levy increase. However, he is recommending taking the little more than $36,000 difference (between the 3.81 and 2.84 proposed tax levy increases) and putting it in the special education budget. 

“Because we cannot have a special education reserve, that is really the only way we can protect ourselves,” he said.   

School boards can present a budget that requires a levy that exceeds the cap, but will need a higher margin of voter approval. Instead of the majority vote (50 percent plus one), the threshold for voter approval is 60 percent. 

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