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March 21, 2013

Local schools to fight for equity


“That leaves us still $200,000 short and we are not really sure where we will come up with that money,” Livshin said.

MCS chose to use $500,000 in reserves last year to stay below the 2 percent gap.

“Now we are paying the price,” Livshin said. “If we hadn’t done that we would have been in good shape.”

Milford stayed right at the 2 percent tax limit last year when passing a budget that increased by 4.3 percent.

Other things MCS is looking at 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.

According to Livshin, there are three teachers and two licensed teacher assistants who meet retirement eligibility.

“There is a good possibility two will go, which would be huge because we won’t replace them,” Livshin said.

Livshin added that negotiations with the teacher’s union will take place this year and he anticipates that “something good” will be worked out with them.

Cooperstown has a tax levy limit of $219,622, which means it could be increased by 2.05 percent before going above the cap threshold. Hebert said he anticipates having one or two propositions up for vote, separate from the budget, for buses and equipment.

According to Hebert, the district plans to cut drivers education during the school day, but will continue its summer program. He said CCS will have four teachers and two support staff retiring and one teacher will not be replaced.

The district will increase a .5 elementary position to full-time, add a director of student services and hire a school psychologist.

According to Hebert, the director of student services position has been created in response to the state’s annual professional performance review, and costs will be mitigated by not replacing guidance counselor Jay Baldo. Hebert added that CCS currently contracts out for a psychologist and has found a way to hire one at no additional costs.

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