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Morristown proposes $9 million budget for 2013-2014

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MORRISTOWN – Morristown Central School Superintendent David J. Glover unveiled a $9 million budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year Tuesday that represents a $447,000 spending increase over the current year’s budget.

He said the plan is less than ideal.

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

To that end the budget proposal includes appropriating approximately $1 million from the district’s approximately $3.3 million current fund balance, Business Manager Patricia Smithers said.

Next year’s plan also increases the tax levy by $111,952, to $3.4 million.

But even with the programming budget held at current spending levels, the proposal represents a $447,199 increase over the 2012-2013 budget due to the need to hire an additional elementary teacher and a $100,000 project to increase security at the school.

This year’s budget was $8,572,442.

Morristown Teachers Association Co-President Karen I. Basham said the personnel cuts the school has already made, including teacher aides, bus drivers and five full-time teaching positions this year 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 board members 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 roughly 2016 by applying money from fund balance to fill budget gaps.

Even so, he said he remains frustrated by an economic climate that has reduced state aid. Under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive budget, Morristown Central School stands to receive roughly $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 2012.

“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.”

He said a continued decline could negatively impact the school’s state aid allotment, which is based in part on enrollment.

District officials will know exactly how much aid they will receive from the state after the state’s budget, which is due April 1, is passed.

The next budget meeting will be held on March 13.

“People are certainly welcome to come and listen and participate,” Mr. Glover said.

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