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Morristown proposes $9 million budget for 2013-14

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MORRISTOWN — Morristown Central School Superintendent David J. Glover unveiled a $9 million budget proposal for the 2013-14 school year at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Mr. Glover did not propose new spending cuts but said, “The challenge is that we’ve got to be happy with what we have. We are not happy with what we have.”

To that end, the budget proposal includes appropriating approximately $1 million in fund balance, district Business Manager Patricia Smithers said.

The proposal includes increasing the tax levy by $111,952, to $3.4 million.

But even with the programing budget held at current spending levels, the proposal represents a $447,199 increase over the 2012-13 budget, partly because of the need to hire an additional elementary teacher and a $100,000 project the board hopes will increase security at the school.

Last year’s budget was $8,572,442.

Morristown Teachers Association President Karen I. Basham said the cuts the school already has made, including teacher aides, bus drivers and five full-time teaching positions in 2012 alone, have put the school’s staff in a difficult position.

“We’re struggling,” Mrs. Basham said. “We’re having a hard time meeting needs.”

Mrs. Basham said the board should consider restoring positions.

“It will do our students a world of good,” she said.

Mr. Glover said the school can maintain the status quo without further cuts in programs or staffing until about 2016 by applying fund balance money to fill budget gaps.

“Schools are people; they just happen to be housed in a building,” Mr. Glover said, adding that he is frustrated by the economic climate that has reduced state aid.

In this year’s executive budget proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Morristown Central School stands to receive about $4,678,230 in state aid, a $10,808 increase over last year.

Mr. Glover said another problem facing the school is that enrollment has dropped by 20 students since September.

“We have people moving in and out all the time,” Mr. Glover said. “It’s natural flow. There’s been years where it’s come the other way.”

But he said the decline could negatively affect the school’s state aid allotment, which is based partly on enrollment.

“This could result in a decline in state aid from the executive budget,” Mr. Glover said.

The school will know exactly how much aid it will receive from the state after the state’s budget is passed. That budget is due April 1.

The next budget meeting will be March 13. “People are certainly welcome to come and listen and participate,” Mr. Glover said.

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