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Madrid-Waddington preliminary school budget would call for 28.79 percent tax increase

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MADRID — Faced with a lack of state aid and increased education costs, Madrid-Waddington Central School Superintendent Lynn M. Roy said the district is “out of ideas” on how to reduce its budget. Additional revenue needed to balance the budget would equal a 28.79 percent increase — a number far exceeding the state’s 2.241 maximum tax cap and too high a burden for taxpayers, Mrs. Roy said.

At the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday, Mrs. Roy presented a preliminary budget that showed a 5.37 percent spending increase, for a total budget of $15,795,059. The total is $1,001,984 more than this year’s budget of $14,793,075.

While no new programs are being added, contractual obligations, utilities, maintenance supplies, employee benefits and health insurance costs have made balancing the school budget extremely difficult, she said.

“It’s still early in the process, but this is where we are now,” Mrs. Roy said.

The school is looking to add a full-time math teacher for seventh through 12th grades and a combination full-time custodial worker and bus driver to replace a retiring bus driver.

The implementation of Common Core standards requires that schools provide a certain level of support to students to ensure they are able to meet new demands, she said.

The school is hoping to share a part-time behavioral specialist with another school district. The district shares health and technology teachers. The district has allocated a 10 percent increase in extracurricular and athletic budgets. Those areas have been frozen since 2010, Mrs. Roy said.

“That area has been decreased significantly and consistently since 2008. But contractual obligations for officials have increased, and we need supplies,” she said.

The budget also reflects a long-term plan to replace and upgrade all of the computers in the district over five years. Since 2008-09, total school aid has increased only about $70,000. According to the proposed executive budget, the school will receive about a $119,000 increase in school aid this year.

“We are getting short on ideas,” she said. “We are down to where every department has taken a hit and lost some personnel primarily through attrition — the retiring of staff.”

The administration’s plan is to maintain the status quo.

“The electives are necessary for a truly rigorous and relevant education. We need to have classes for our kids to sit in,” she said. “If not, what are we providing our students?”

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