The Lakeland Central School District began its four-part budget presentation on January 5. Topics in the first meeting included Operational, transportation, and general support budgets.
Lakeland’s budget will remain the same in 2012-2013 Lakeland School District Superintendent Dr. George Stone told the Board of Education during his overview of the 2012-13 budget last week. However, Lakeland will need to find $1.85 million in order to bring that budget below the New York State tax levy cap, he added.
“The Lakeland budget we will be presenting and proposing for 2012-13 will be exactly the same budget amount as the current year,” offered Dr. Stone. “In other words we will be proposing no increase in the total budget to budget amount. In today’s economy that is as responsible as we could possibly be. He said the budget tax levy increase will stay below 2 percent and no override will be considered.
But given the fact that a zero increase in the budget would mean a 4 percent tax levy increase, the district will have make reductions totaling $1.85 million.
In his presentation, Dr. Stone pointed to several known factors that will affect the budget including increasing other employment costs (pensions, health benefits), energy costs, and the ever increasing wide range of unfunded mandates. Still unknown factors include state aid, enrollments, savings in the current budget, and potential retirements.
“While we are committed to maintaining the outstanding quality of our educational programs we have to examine everything,” Stone said. The district has been meeting with representatives of the district’s employee groups, reviewing enrollment projections, and considering retirement incentives.
The district made $1.8 million in reductions in the current year’s budget. Residents can view a video of the board meeting at lakelandschools.org or local cable channels. The next budget meeting will be held on February 2 at the Administration Building in Shrub Oak. Topics will include debt service, technology and employee benefits.