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Lakeland Plans to Keep Budget Same as Last Year

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The proposed budget for the 2012-2013 Lakeland School District will be the same dollar-to-dollar increase as last year. In order to stay within the constraints of the 2 percent tax cap, the district needs to find $1.85 million.

“The Lakeland budget we will be presenting and proposing for 2012-2013 will be exactly the same budget amount as the current year,” said Lakeland Superintendant Dr. George Stone. “In other words we will be proposing no increase in the total budget to budget amount. In today’s economy that is as responsible as we could possibly be."

The main source of funds for the district's budget comes from taxes from residents, also known as the tax levy. Law mandates that the levy cannot be raised more than 2 percent. For Lakeland, the increase would have been 4 percent even while keeping the budget the same from last year, so they need to find additional funds.

This meeting was the first of several the district is holding on the budget for the next year. Stone also explained that the district does not yet know how much funds they will receive from state aid, but explained that they have faced reductions in state aid for the past two years.

State aid is just one of several other unknown factors in the budget, including enrollments, savings in the current budget and potential retirements. Known factors that increase the budget pointed out by Stone include increasing employment costs like pensions and health benefits, energy costs and the increasing number of unfunded mandates.

“It is getting harder and harder to find ways for districts to reduce their budgets further than they already have in the past few years,” Stone said. “In Lakeland we are doing extensive research and extensive planning. While we are committed to maintaining the outstanding quality of our educational programs we have to examine everything.”

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