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Lisbon Central School proposes $12.2 million budget

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LISBON – With a proposed budget of $12,231,590 for the 2013-2014 school year, Lisbon Central School is facing a shortfall of between $140,597 and $188,173 depending on property tax rates.

Lisbon Central School Business Manager Wendy S. White said, “That’s where we make cuts.”

The school is looking at total revenues of $7,299,848. That includes $6,364,848 in state aid – an increase of $127,056 over last year – and $935,000 in BOCES aid, refunds, interest and local revenues.

Mrs. White figured in two international students into the local revenues line. With each student expected to pay $15,000, that adds $30,000 to the school’s budget.

But operational costs are increasing faster than moderate revenue increases can keep up with.

Superintendent Erin E. Woods said the school has already saved money by not replacing two retiring positions this year.

“We’ve really cut and been creative,” Ms. Woods said. “There’s not a lot of room to cut without affecting programs.”

And it isn’t just programs and staff that could be impacted by the school’s bottom line.

The difference between the two shortfalls forecasted by Mrs. White is a difference between a 5.08 percent and a 3.5 percent property tax rate.

Mrs. White figured two tax rates, one at the upper end of what the school could enact within the state’s property tax cap formula, and one towards the center.

The school will decide which rate to implement within the next two weeks.

A 5.08 percent rate would equal a full value tax rate of $18.3552 per $1,000 of assessed value and raise $3,154,494 for the school, leaving a $140,597 shortfall to fill by defunding programs or making staff cuts.

At 3.5 percent, the school would raise $3,106,918 – equaling a full value tax rate of $18.0784 per $1,000 – leaving a $188,173 shortfall.

The school is also applying roughly $1.6 million of its fund balance to the 2013-2014 budget.

Mrs. White cautioned against using more of their fund balance in the event of unforeseen spending needs.

“Once you use it, it’s gone,” she said of the fund balance.

Ms. Woods said the state could step in with additional aid money and help the school avoid staff or program cuts.

Ms. Woods pointed out that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has yet to announce how he will allocated the $203 million stabilization fund he announced in his executive budget.

“We’re hoping to get an infusion of aid from that $200 million pot,” she said. But Ms. Woods cautioned, “It’s nothing we can count on.”

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