Schoharie County school districts propose tax increases, staff cuts

Schoharie County property owners will see school tax levy increases ranging from 2 percent up to 3.7

Schoharie County property owners will see school tax levy increases ranging from 2 percent up to 3.75 percent in budget proposals going up for a vote Tuesday.

Some districts were able to maintain programs in their spending plans, others are cutting positions to contend with decreases in state funding.

“We all took our hit,” said Ruth Reeve, superintendent of the Gilboa-Conesville Central School District, which would lose three positions under the 2011-12 budget proposal.

“It’s certainly going to impact students, because in a small, rural school, three positions is a lot,” Reeve said.

Compared with the current budget, the district is receiving about $119,000 less in state assistance — but Reeve said next year’s budget could be a major concern.

Flat state aid and talk about a 2 percent cap on tax increases could force difficult decisions.

“We’re about as efficient as we can be. Next year, I have no idea what lies ahead,” Reeve said.

The Sharon Springs Central School will lose three positions, one of which will be through a retirement.

The other two positions are being cut due to declining enrollment, school district business administrator Tony DiPace said.

The district lost about $350,000 in state funding, he said, which is “a lot on an $8 million budget.”

Despite funding pressure, DiPace said the district was able to maintain programs availed to students this year.

“Enrollment is down, just like everybody else in the state, but we didn’t really cut any programs, so we feel like we’re pretty fortunate this year,” he said.

After losing $882,000 in state aid last year and $911,000 this year, the Schoharie school district will not replace six of eight positions being vacated through retirement, according to district budget documents.

Another four teachers and three support staff positions are being reduced to half time or eliminated altogether.

Voting start times vary at the different school districts, with polls closing at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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