LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education has approved a 2012-13 budget that would meet the state's new property tax cap with a 1.8 percent levy increase.
The board unanimously approved the spending plan during the Tuesday, April 17 regular meeting. The $16,820,021 budget would increase spending by 1.5 percent over the current year.
"I think we met our target," said board President Phil Baumbach. "We maintained a lot of great programs for the school, and had some monies to invest in infrastructure, so I think it's a good budget."
The budget goes to the public for a vote on May 15. The district will release a budget booklet to the public on Wednesday and hold hearings May 1 in Wilmington and May 8 in Lake Placid.
The budget would eliminate one teaching position in the elementary school and use $300,000 in leftover fund balance.
Superintendent Randy Richards has called the budget "remarkable" in that it wouldn't dismantle educational programs and avoids significant layoffs, something other school districts are faced with.
Only one board member expressed reservations about the budget at Tuesday's meeting. Herb Stoerr said it uses too much fund balance.
Stoerr said he missed a series of budget work sessions earlier this month and in March because of a prior engagement.
"(The budget) is squeezing us down to something that can't sustain in the future," he said. "We're taking quite a chunk of money out of the reserves to support our lifestyle, and that's going to come crushing down on us next year. What we're doing is kicking the can down the road next year."
But Cathy Johnston said the fund balance will be at about 4 percent of the total budget by year's end. District Budget Officer Leonard Sauers said the district will likely have $300,000 in reserves left over at the end of the current school year, which will be "dropped in" to the fund balance next year.
Despite those figures, Stoerr said the district will still "be faced with salary increase across the board" next year and that he was "floored that we minimized" job cuts to just one position.
"But since I didn't participate in the argument, I can't say very much," he added.
Lake Placid Education Association President Tom Dodd told the board they "adopted a budget that utilizes a large portion of fund balance that maintains programs and keeps staff.
"I thank the board for that," he said.
Dodd asked if the board could have allocated more fund balance to save the teaching position. He said the district has emphasized keeping class sizes low to benefit students.
In addition to the budget vote, voters will also have a choice of four candidates for three seats on the school board when they head to the polls on May 15.
Incumbent school board member Joan Hallett Valentine is running for the seat she was appointed to last August after Camelia Sheridan stepped down due to an illness in her family. The seats of Cathy Johnston and Jill Cardinale Segger are also up for grabs; they're not running for re-election.
Newcomers Mary Dietrich, Patricia Gallagher and Martha Stahl have all filed petitions to run the board.
A "Meet the Candidates" forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lake Placid Beach House. The public is invited to attend.
Contact Chris Morris at
891-2600 ext. 26 or