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Staff Cuts Loom in $2.8 Million Hen Hud Budget Cut

MONTROSE, N.Y. – The Hendrick Hudson School District will have to cut positions and $2.8 million in the upcoming 2012-2013 fiscal year to come under the state’s tax cap, officials said.

If the district used a “rollover budget,” which only increases the costs by contractual and mandated expenses, the year-to-year budget would jump nearly $3.6 million. To stay within the tax cap however, the district has come to a preliminary budget estimate of $70.5 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, trimming $2.8 million from the rollover budget.

The district has already identified $1.8 million in savings, at least partially through staff cuts, and is hoping a renegotiation of the district’s teacher’s union contract will net another $885,000 in savings, said school officials.

This will be the fifth consecutive year the district will eliminate staff positions, eliminating a total of 69 since the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The district said eliminating those positions has saved the district about $6.5 million.

“Over the last five and a half years, every effort has been made to keep budget increases at a sustainable level,” said Superintendent Daniel McCann. “We have consistently presented budgets with reasonable increases that balanced our student’s needs with our community’s ability to support our budgets. We intend to come in at the tax cap, while still maintaining as many of those opportunities and programs that set us apart from other districts in the county and region.”

As part of the budget process the district will start a phone, Internet and paper survey to try and gauge the public’s opinion on capital expenditures and future budgets. The public recently rejected a $25.1 million bond for repairing old facilities and to build a stand-alone performing art center.

The district will need to weigh its future budgets carefully, as any budget override of the 2 percent tax cap requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. The district needs to levy $40.8 million of its budget from property taxes, since nearly $19 million of its budget comes from a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Agreement through Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point.

The budget will be brought to public vote on May 15 and departmental budget meetings will continue through the spring until the vote.

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