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Hastings School Budget Public Hearing Draws Few

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The first public hearing on the Hastings School District 2012-13 budget drew just one resident on Monday night, but Hastings Superintendent Timothy Connors said it reflects well on the process.

“I think people know that we’ve been working hard on the budget, that it’s a budget that is pretty effective,” Connors said.  “I think that people have kept up with that and they see that there’s an opportunity here.”

Roger Scheiber of the Hastings Citizens Budget Advisory Committee was the lone resident to attend the meeting and speak to the board.

“I do have concerns,” Scheiber said. “Mandates will probably make it fairly impossible to stay under the 2 percent tax cap in future years and I think that’s important and I think that’s something that we have to start to consider now.”

Scheiber said that the district needs to do a little more “belt tightening” and consider cutting other faculty positions before adding new ones to the budget. He also mentioned teaming up with other local school districts, which Hastings is currently in the process of researching .

“The schools districts are going to have to stop doing business as they have for years and start making hard choices,” Scheiber said. “I think we really should to start to look at those hard choices now, I think business as usual sooner or later is going to catch up to us.”

Connors pointed to factors such as the budget staying under the 2 percent tax levy cap for why the turnout was so low Monday night.

“Early on people are pleased we stayed under the cap, some of the things people were looking for in terms of class sizes and other things we addressed and we had I think some good discussions with our (Citizens Budget Advisory Committee) group,” Connors said.

The preliminary budget was set at $42,708,466, which would be a $680,072 increase over this year’s budget of $42,028,394. The next public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 17 and the third is slated for May 1. The board will potentially adopt the budget on April 17 for election and the public will be able to vote on the budget on May 15.

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