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Liberty CS touts 'low' tax levy

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LIBERTY — April 27, 2010 — The Liberty Central School District Board of Education voted to adopt the 2010-2011 budget proposal last Tuesday. The $39,053,693 plan calls for a 2.4 percent increase in spending over last year and will increase the tax levy by 1.7 percent, one of the lowest increases in the county, the board noted.
Three board seats will also be decided upon by voters next month, and the candidates are Joyce Teed, Boise Sellers III, Phillip Olsen and Andrew Kavleski.
The proposed budget includes more than $1 million in reductions to help offset the impact of rising costs, due primarily to higher costs for health insurance and increased contribution amounts to state employee retirement systems as well as the anticipated loss of approximately $1.2 million in state aid next year.
The loss of state aid is part of Governor David Paterson’s deficit-reduction efforts included in his state budget proposal. The state legislature has yet to approve those aid cuts, but as Superintendent Michael B. Vanyo explains, without a state budget Liberty’s budget must be developed using the Governor’s state aid figures.
“It would be irresponsible of us to count on revenues that we don’t know will be there,” Vanyo said. “New York State is facing serious financial challenges, and that is taking a toll on school funding. We have to plan to do the best we can with less.”
Although no academic programs were affected by the budget cuts, certain teaching positions were eliminated. In all, the reductions include six full-time teaching positions, four teaching assistants, six part-time and one full-time teacher aides, and three administrative/clerical staff. Five of the eliminated positions are due to retirement.
“The cuts we had to make were difficult, but due to declining enrollment of approximately 9.6 percent, or 174 students since 2006, the cuts should not affect the quality of the educational program,” explained Vanyo.
The district also offered a retirement incentive in the 2009-2010 school year.
The proposed budget includes cost-saving measures that, once implemented, can help the district reduce spending in several key areas.
Most notably, the district plans to centralize its business office operations with Sullivan County BOCES.
“We are doing what we can to remain sensitive to the needs of taxpayers, while still delivering essential programs and services to our students,” Vanyo said.

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