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Kat-Lewisboro School Budget Would Cut Staffing

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The proposed Katonah Lewisboro School District budget for 2012-13 calls for the elimination of the equivalent of 24 full-time positions, including nine teaching posts and an increase in the tax levy of 2.5 percent, officials said.

The proposed budget can be found on the district's website . The $113 million proposed spending package is a 1.84 increase over the current budget. District officials noted in a statement that, although the state imposed tax cap is frequently referred to as being 2 percent, it actually varies and can be higher or lower depending on the district’s local tax property tax revenues. The calculated state-defined tax levy cap for the district is 3.56 percent due to approximate 1.33 percent inflation caused by one-time expenses, officials said. Without this inflation from expenses the tax levy limit would be 2.23 percent.

District Superintendent Paul Kreutzer said the budget maintains or improves the district’s instructional programs. It also includes expenses for unfunded state mandates that the district is responsible for, which comprise approximately 17 percent of the total budget.

“In developing this budget we considered a variety of factors and challenges,” Kreutzer said. “The new tax levy cap requires school districts to stay within the state-defined limit, while a list of unfunded mandates is growing and associated expenses are rising.”

Kreutzer said one of the challenges the district faced in preparing the budget was maintaining student programs in a difficult economy.

“We are cognizant of the current economic climate and are constantly exploring opportunities for savings and efficiencies,” he said. “At the same time we recognized the importance of preserving instructional programs for students. This budget enables us to maintain our educational programs while addressing taxpayers’ concerns.”

The budget also addresses capital projects through a separate proposition for building renovations and improvements. These projects primarily include energy-efficiency updates aimed at offsetting future expenses for energy and will be funded through the use of money that remains in the capital reserve along with available fund balance. The projects will not require borrowing or increasing taxes.

The district will provide a budget overview at the board of education meeting Thursday at John Jay High School at 7:30 p.m.

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