Red Hook school budget vote Tuesday, May 15

Residents in the Red Hook School District will vote at Mill Road Elementary School on Tuesday, May 15 between noon and 9pm on the proposed school budget, one school board seat and a school bus proposition.

The proposed 2012-2013 budget comes in under the state’s new tax cap mandate calculated as 2.53 percent. The budget totals $46,956,574, an overall increase of 2.27 percent over the prior year. Approximately 63 percent of that is funded through local property taxes.

According to a district mailing, the increase will translate to an additional $5.95 a month on the school property tax bill for families with property assessed at $200,000 — for a total of about $72/year.

The new budget takes advantage of the retirement of seven teachers. They will be replaced by six new hires at lower starting salaries. One position will remain unfilled. In addition, Red Hook’s share of school aid was increased in the recently passed state budget by about $360,000 over last year’s numbers, and there was an additional $300,000 in state aid surplus carried over from last year, according to Business Administrator Bruce Martin.

School officials have said that if voters were to reject the budget twice, that would force a contingency budget with a zero percent increase and another $720,000 in cuts. That could mean 8-10 positions could be eliminated, groups would have to pay for building usage, athletics could face cuts and kindergarten class sizes could increase.

A budget talk and meet-the-candidate night will take place at a joint PTA/PTSA meeting tonight at 7pm in the Red Hook High School cafeteria.

Voter registration is also available at Mill Road until 9pm tonight in the 3-5 lobby. If you are registered to vote through the county, you should already be eligible to vote. Absentee ballots are available by calling the school district’s administration offices at 845-758-2241.

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