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Katonah-Lewisboro School Board Adopts Budget

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education adopted the proposed district budget for 2012-13 at its meeting this week. The $113 million spending package calls for 2.09 percent increase in the tax levy while eliminating 24 fulltime jobs, including nine teaching positions.

The board voted 6-1 to adopt the budget with Trustee Peter Treyz casting the only dissenting vote. During the meeting Treyz said he had hoped to see a budget with little or no tax increase.

“I believe we have delivered an excellent budget,” said board President Mark Lipton. “It’s been a struggle with the unfunded mandates and the tax cap, but I think we’ve created a budget that reflects the community’s values. It meets the needs of the students for them to learn something new and meaningful every day,”

Lipton said he knows it was impossible to please everyone throughout the budget process.

“No budget can make everyone happy,” he said. “But your concerns were listened to.”

The 2012-13 budget is an increase of 1.78 percent over last year’s spending package. Some $60,000 in expenditures was trimmed since the board’s last budget session. As a result, the original proposed tax levy increase dropped from 2.5 percent to 2.09 percent. That number still places the district below the state-imposed tax cap.

District officials noted 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.

School Superintendent Paul Kreutzer said the school budget reflects the district’s attempt to control spending during a difficult economy as student enrollment drops.

“We are stabilizing the district for the future,” he said. “This is a long-term situation and paying for things with a credit card is not a long-term solution.”

Trustee Michael Gordon said the district was able to develop a budget that still addresses the educational needs of its students.

“We will be able to continue to offer a top-flight education,” he said “Classes may be larger than some parents would like, but all of the evidence shows that our kids will be just fine.”

The budget will go before district voters on May 15.

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