continued Part of this year’s increase will be taxed locally, as will $507,898 in capital bonds. The total proposed tax levy for the 2013-14 school year, including PILOTS and new construction, is $74,581,208. That represents a 2.82 percent increase over last year.
Johns explained that the true increase was only 2 percent.
“You look at this and you say, ‘The district is raising my taxes by 2.82 percent,’” he said. “That’s not true. Your taxes went up 2 percent only. That .82 percent is tacked on by the state for property not yet in the tax base. I think they only add it together to confuse you. It certainly confuses me.”
The budget proposal included cutting the district’s late buses at a savings of $47,000. Instead, there will be a small discretionary budget, and building principals can contract for a late bus for certain activities.
There were few other major cuts; instead, this budget called for reinstating programs previous budgets have eliminated. Among them are the superintendent’s assistant and seventh-grade foreign language education.
“It was a problem for kids to complete their sequencing [as required by the New York State Board of Regents], as well as for our principals in terms of scheduling,” Johns said of the restoration of seventh-grade foreign language.
Johns said that, based on the last few years, he is hopeful that the legislature will increase the aid proposed to the district by about $1 million.
“I’ve included that in my budget this year, even though I’ve never done it before,” he said. “Is it risky? Sure. We don’t know if that money’s going to be there. But history tells us that it will.”
Johns pointed out that, while enrollment has declined slightly over the last five years, staffing has been reduced significantly. In 2008-09, Liverpool’s enrollment was 7,661. This year, it’s 7,306. Staffing, meanwhile, in the district has dropped from 1,316 to 1,120.