With school budget voted down, Middleburgh goes back to the drawing board

Voters in Schoharie County's Middleburgh Central School District voted down this year's proposed $20,277,789 budget on May 21 by just 25 votes: 374 for to 399 against.

Now, with a second budget vote looming on June 18, the district has proposed a new budget with about $88,000 in additional cuts, bringing the total spending for the year down to $20,189,789 if adopted. 

The new proposed budget would increase the tax levy in the district by 2.68 percent, and would represent an increase in spending of 0.2 percent over the current year's spending. Property taxes account for slightly more than 40 percent of funding for the district's annual budget, with most of the rest coming from state aid.

The previous (rejected) budget would have increased the tax levy in the district by 3.92 percent over the current year, an amount allowed under the new state tax cap. It included about $315,000 in cuts, including the elimination of a full-time elementary school teaching position, part-time reductions in English, physical education, reading and teacher assistant positions, and cuts to extracurricular and athletic spending. 

If adopted, the new cuts will also eliminate all field trips, reassign a mechanic as a bus driver, cut a cleaning position to part-time, eliminate an internal auditor and a BOCES curriculum coordinator, and make cuts to energy contracts and the funds set aside for contract negotiation. Details of the proposed cuts can be found on the school's website.

With the first budget rejected, the district has a choice between reintroducing the same budget for another vote, proposing a revised budget, and adopting a contingency budget with a zero percent tax increase. By making cuts, the district hopes to avoid going to a contingency budget, which would force another $235,297 in cuts. 

Since the revised budget is under the new state tax cap, it requires a simple majority to pass.

According to the district's Board of Education, if the school adopts a contingency budget, all athletics and extracurriculars will be eliminated. 

The Daily Gazette reports that the district will hold a hearing on the newly revised budget on Thursday, June 6 at 7pm in the high school library.

Voting on Middleburgh's proposed budget will be held on Tuesday, June 18, from noon to 9pm in the high school gym.