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Huntington school budget view 'eye-opening'

With a state-mandated 2 percent tax cap budget looming for the 2012-13 school year, Huntington’s district superintendent on Monday showed how keeping the current budget would increase spending more than creating a new budget with a 2 percent tax increase.

If the district were to rollover the current $109 million budget for the 2012-13 year, it would cost $113.45 million, an increase of 4.69 percent. A budget with a 2 percent tax increase carries a price tag of $110.9 million.

The numbers reflect an expectation of no increases in state aid and other assumptions including increases in health insurance and state pension expenses, “step” salary increases for qualifying teachers, an increase in transportation costs, and an increase in the tax levy from the current budget of $94 million to $98.4 million. The tax levy for a 2 percent budget would be $95.9 million.

“It was an eye-opening situation for me when I first saw the number,” school superintendent James W. Polansky said during a presentation at Monday night’s school board meeting.

The comparison also was “an eye-opening situation for the board when I showed them the number and just something that I think everybody needs to see as we move forward in planning our budget process,” he said. District administrators will be looking at all unmandated areas to find $2.5 million in cuts, Polansky said.

The administration will present the working budget to the board on Feb. 17, with the first of several public hearings scheduled for Mar. 5.



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