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North Salem School Budget Talks Continue Wednesday

The proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year will be discussed at Wednesday's North Salem BOE meeting.
The proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year will be discussed at Wednesday's North Salem BOE meeting. Photo Credit: North Salem Central School District

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – A discussion of special education and pupil services, instructional media and technology, and co-curricular activities and athletics top the agenda for the Wednesday meeting of the North Salem Board of Education.

The meeting is open to the public and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the North Salem Middle/High School library at 230 June Road.

Superintendent Ken Freeston presented an overview of the proposed 2013-14 budget at a March 13 meeting.

“We control our spending, but we are controlled by our revenue,” he said in the presentation.

The state has set the North Salem district’s tax levy cap at 3.48 percent for the coming year. The proposed budget provides for a levy of 2.83 percent, well under the maximum, Freeston said.

The district has cut its employment roll by 33 in recent years, leading to a cumulative savings of nearly $3 million, he said. Other savings have included sharing transportation costs with Katonah and Brewster, using BOCES services, and evaluating and controlling building maintenance costs, Freeston said.

During the current year, all of the school principals have been prudent in spending on such items as textbooks, library books, instructional equipment and repairs, said Freeston, so each school has a lower “Building Level” cost in the new budget.

Salaries and the costs of transportation and fuel have decreased, but employee benefits, materials, technology costs and a few others have increased in the budget, he said.

School improvements during the 2012-13 year include installing surveillance equipment and cameras, refurbishing the middle/high school music lab, refurbishing the Pequenakonck School (PQ) storage shed and installing a batting cage in the field. New lighting and painting is under way in the middle/high school gymnasium, and the drainage system undergoing improvements.

The bottom line for the new budget comes to $40,200,600, compared with the current budget of $39,250,300. Therefore, the new new budget provides an increase of less than $1 million.

The April 10 meeting of the Board of Education has been fixed for finalizing the budget, which will be adopted by the board April 23.

A public hearing will be held on the 2013-14 school budget May 8, followed by a general vote May 21.

All Board of Education meetings stream live on the internet.

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