District sets hearing on budget plan

NORTHVILLE – A hearing will be conducted tonight on the Northville Central School District’s proposed 2014-15 budget, which exceeds the tax cap and voters previously rejected.

The district’s Board of Education will hold a special hearing today at 6 p.m. to discuss the June 17 vote on the 2014-15 budget proposal, which totals $10.6 million and carries an estimated tax-levy increase of 3.8 percent, or $217,000, exceeding the state-imposed tax cap.

The budget requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass because it exceeds the tax-levy cap of 1.12 percent.

On May 20, the majority of voters supported the budget in a 255-179 vote. However, district officials said the proposal fell five votes short of the supermajority.

The board members, except for John Sira, who was not in attendance, all voted May 29 to put the same budget up for the revote.

Officials from the district made no changes to the budget before sending it to voters again, saying there was nothing they felt they could cut.

Officials from the district are hoping for a higher turnout during the June 17 vote.

Sira said this morning he was surprised the May 20 vote failed.

“I thought [the public] would have seen the value in what had been added to the programming,” Sira said.

If the district were to drop the tax-levy increase below the cap, the district would have to make various cuts, such as a teaching assistant, a computer information officer, extra-curricular stipends, junior varsity softball and baseball.

According to the state Department of Education, the Board of Education may submit its budget to the voters no more than two times. If the voters fail to approve the budget after the second submission, the board must adopt a contingency budget, which would include a 1.11 percent tax-levy increase.

“We would have to maintain what we currently have,” Sira said.

Sira said he felt it was important for voters to be informed on the budget to alleviate any concerns they may have.

The second budget vote is scheduled for June 17 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.

The meeting will also introduce the district’s new superintendent, Leslie Ford, to the public.

Ford is currently the director of human resources for the Dutchess Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Poughkeepsie. She will be serving as a full-time superintendent after the current interim Superintendent, Debra Lynker, steps down.