The Harrison Central School District's proposed $104.2 million 2012-13 budget would increase taxes approximately 3.08 percent while staying beneath the state's new tax levy cap, Harrison Assistant Superintendent for Business Robert Salierno confirmed this week.
Although the Board of Education approved the preliminary budget two weeks ago, administrators waited until this week to release a final estimate regarding the tax rate increase. The increase on th tax levy—the portion of the budget paid by taxpayers—remains at 1.97 percent. However, because of continued reductions in the town's overall tax base, each taxpayer's contribution will increase slightly more, resulting in the 3.08 percent increase.
Salierno will present the proposed budget publicly Wednesday night. He said no changes have been made to the preliminary budget at a Board of Education meeting on April 18.
"Everything remains the same," he said of the plan that would increase overall budget-to-budget spending 1.07 percent from this year. State law requires school districts to hold a public hearing on the budget this week before it goes to a public vote on May 15.
The Harrison Board of Education has made clear their two goals for this year's budget—stay beneath the tax cap without cutting programs or increasing class sizes.
Salierno has presented the budget several times throughout the spring, each time with a final number closer to the tax levy cap. The most recent presentation in April included 17 small cuts adding up to the final $144,000 in savings needed to present a budget beneath the cap.
Staffing adjustments proposed earlier this year make up a bulk of the savings from the current budget. The district was able to save $1.6 million by eliminating 10.4 vacant positions, five of them instructional. A teacher retirement incentive garnered nine retirements earlier this year, so those positions will be eliminated without layoffs. Salierno said in April that an expected decrease in enrollment will allow the district to downsize its teaching staff without affecting class sizes.
The district will also absorb a vacant administrative position and leave 4.4 full-time equivalent positions vacant within the non-instructional staff.
Wednesday night's budget presentation will outline the entire budget process. Because the preliminary budget is beneath the state's tax cap, a majority vote would approve the 2012-13 budget.