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Gouverneur school takes first budget look

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GOUVERNEUR — A preliminary budget for Gouverneur Central School District would raise taxes 8.4 percent if school board members make no changes.

The next few meetings of the board will focus on balancing reductions from possible program cuts and retirements, using some of the school’s projected fund balance of $2 million and raising taxes, Superintendent Lauren F. French said.

The district’s property tax increase limit for next year is 6.1 percent, she said. If the board wanted to go above that percentage, it would require a resolution to exceed the state’s property tax cap which would have to have a supermajority vote of 60 percent to pass.

Mrs. French presented the preliminary budget of $32.8 million, an increase of 4.5 percent, to the board Monday.

The possible 8.4 percent increase in the tax levy includes the estimated savings of $224,223 from the board’s decision to close Fowler Elementary School.

Without the closing, the projected tax increase would be 12.6 percent, Mrs. French said.

“The board is being asked to make decisions that are meaningful to people,” she said.

The board is unlikely to make any rapid decisions on what to do with the Fowler School building until the end of the academic year.

“Education at Fowler continues until June,” Mrs. French said. “We don’t want the children to feel the building is being closed around them.”

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