GREENE – Despite more than $880,000 in cuts to programs and staffing, Greene taxpayers will face a 2.88 percent increase in the property tax levy this year. The hike is the largest increase residents of the Greene Central School District have felt in a number of years, reported District Business Manager Mark Rubitski.
The tentative budget adopted by the GCSD school board last week totals $23,910,568, an 8.27 percent increase in spending over the current year’s budget.
“That comes with a large caveat,” said Rubitski, who explained that the increase in total spending isn’t why taxpayers will be feeling the pinch this year.
The school business official said the $1,827,179 budget to budget increase reflects the capital improvement project currently underway, which he stressed was not impacting the tax levy.
“When we proposed the current Capital Program, we promised this would not impact the levy,” the school business official said. “We are meeting that promise.”
Instead, Rubitski and Superintendent Jonathan Retz attribute the need for a tax levy increase to decreases in state aid, which translate into a $729,281 net loss in revenue next year. The full impact of Governor David Paterson’s Gap Elimination plan would have drained $1.1 million from the district’s coffers, Retz said, but that reduction had been offset by the last of the federal stimulus funds awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
To close the gap, the district has proposed $881,180 in cuts, including staff reductions.
Most significantly, the plan will eliminate a number of positions, including 5.4 teachers. According to Retz, two teacher retirements and two maternity leaves “helped soften the blow,” but one 7-12 math teacher will be let go. Another teaching position, in technology position, will be reduced to part-time.
In addition three licensed teaching assistants and six teachers aides will be eliminated on the instructional side. One cafeteria worker, one transportation employee and a part-time custodial positions will also be cut. Another custodial position, being vacated by retirement, will be left unfilled...