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Hastings Proposed School Budget Shows 1.6 Percent Tax Hike

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The $42 million proposed budget for 2012-2013 was the main focus of the Hastings Board of Education meeting Monday night and some residents said they were unhappy with some of the suggested spending increases.

“The cost per student for 2011-2012 is around $26,300, if you go out five years the cost of a student is $49,600, almost $50,000,” said Tim Mason, a member of the Hastings citizens budget advisory committee.  “The cost of student increase was 26 percent, that’s an increase.  The declining housing value was 18 percent.  This is not sustainable.  It isn’t sustainable and I see no action by the school board.”

The proposed budget was essentially the same as the preliminary budget released earlier this year, according to Hastings superintendent Timothy Connors.  The proposed budget for 2012-2013 is $42,708,466, which is a $680,072 increase from the 2011-2012 adopted budget.  This would be a 1.62 percent increase between school years.

“We did get an increase of $147,759 in state aid though,” Connors said.

Among the cuts in the district, there would be a loss of rental of real property income from BOCES, which was valued at $110,000 in 2011-2012 according to Connors.  There was also a proposed $200,000 decrease in the appropriation from the tax certiorari reserves, along with a proposed $300,000 transfer from retirement reserves to revenue.

Connors said one of the biggest concerns within the school district was the class sizes in the sixth-grade, which could potentially rise from 25-27 students per class due to the amount of children entering the grade.  He said the fact that the seventh-grade class would be smaller than usual the district could take advantage of that.

“We can use the staffing that would normally be used from seventh-graders down, which should offset that class size,” he said.  “We have those dollars set aside in case there is a need for additional staffing.”

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be on April 2, leading up to the eventual budget vote on May 15 along with a school board election.

“Hopefully we’ll get some fresh blood to come in here and come and look at it in a couple of week,” said school board President Eileen Baecher.

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