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LLCS: State's cap may be out of reach

Saturday, January 11, 2014 - Updated: 8:46 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

LONG LAKE -- It is very early in the budget process for school districts, but the Long Lake Central School Board of Education is already fearful it might need to exceed the 1.78 percent cap on any increase in the tax levy.

It took the first step to exceed the cap, if necessary, by passing a resolution Thursday, Jan. 9, allowing it to do so.

An increase of $46,383 would exceed the 1.78 percent cap. The BOE believes it is next to impossible to stay within the cap without compromising the quality of education the school offers.

The 2013/2014 tax levy was $2,601,546.

The action was initiated during general conversation on the budget when talk turned to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Jan. 8 State of the State address and his plans for education. While the board members agree some of his plans sound good, such as expanding Pre-K and digital education, they are more concerned about what was left unsaid.

Who will pay for it? If the state offers start-up money, will it be pulled back and become one more unfunded mandate?

They are especially concerned there was no mention of reducing -- and preferably eliminating -- the Gap Elimination Adjustment which has caused schools to lose millions in state aid. It was first imposed in 2010 and was supposed to be a temporary solution to closing the state's $10 billion budget deficit.

Cuomo has proposed a series of competitive grants that could lengthen school days and expand Pre-K. But it is these competitive grants and the worry that taking them would eventually result in another unfunded mandate that caused board member Michael Nerney to quip, "I don't want to play Cuomo's hunger games."

The Board of Education will next meet Thursday, Feb. 13, starting at 6 p.m. with a Public Budget Forum followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria.

SCHOOL LIBRARY

LLCS Library Media Specialist Sally Long gave an overview of all she offers and received a few laughs when she began with a photo of an old-time librarian scolding, with her finger to her lips, to be quiet in the library.

Long said today's librarians are a far cry from those days and their duties involve much more than keeping the library quiet while they are sorting books.

Long said today's school librarian works with both students and teachers to facilitate access to information in a wide variety of formats; instruct students and teachers on how to acquire, evaluate and use information and the technology needed in this process; and introduces children and young adults to literature and other resources to broaden their horizons.

The school librarian develops, promotes and implements a program to help prepare students be effective users of ideas and information, a lifelong skill.

Go to www.longlakecsd.org/ and click on 'Library' to find much information on what takes place in the school library and what must be taught in each grade under the Common Core State Standards.

NEWSLETTER

BOE President Christine Blumberg proudly displayed a copy of the winter issue of the new school newsletter -- Linking Lakers -- being mailed to all Long Lake taxpayers.

"Our next issue will come out in March and will focus on the budget," she said.

OTHER BUSINESS

-- Superintendent Mary Dickerson reported Food Service Manager Karl Geiger has been nominated to attend the U.S. Department of Agriculture Produce Safety University in Alexandria, Va., April 28 to May 2, with all expenses reimbursed. Geiger has accepted and will attend, she said.

-- Dickerson said a letter from American Legion Post 650 thanks the school for the invitation to its Thanksgiving Feast in November, the cafeteria staff and the Nutrition Site's Teresa Tice and Colleen Smith. Signed by Commander Timothy Touchette, the letter concludes with, "Partaking of traditional Thanksgiving festivities created a warm family ambiance."

peteklein@hamiltoncountyexpress.com

     

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