Superintendent Warns Of Major Cuts For Valhalla Schools

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Superintendent Brenda Myers, left, said she is committed to getting the budget for the Valhalla School District under the state-mandated tax levy cap. Photo Credit: Robert Michelin

VALHALLA, N.Y. — Valhalla Schools Superintendent Brenda Myers realizes that the district faces steep budget cuts in order to reach its goal of staying under the state-mandated tax levy cap.

About $1.1 million must be cut from the current budget plan, Myers said. That task that may be even more difficult than it sounds.

"Over the past three years, we've already been forced to eliminate 18 positions in our district," she said. "And there's certain programs that we need to deliver."

In late January, the district made a preliminary budget presentation that shows the gap that needs to be closed. After getting the budget under the cap for this school year, Myers said it is growing increasingly more difficult, mostly due to a loss in state funding. For the upcoming school year, Myers said Valhalla is projected to lose about $600,000 in state aid. 

"The formula works in that it helps to keep our taxpayers happy," Myers said of the tax levy cap. "But it doesn't accommodate for a loss in funding."

Due to drops in enrollment, the district has already trimmed about $150,000 from its special education budget. The district will also examine areas not protected by state mandates, such as athletics and the arts, to seek out further reductions, Myers said. 

If the district chose to override the cap, it would require a 60 percent approval vote from residents. But that's not an option, she said.

"We're committed to getting under the cap," Myers said. 

The district will hold its next budget work session Feb. 12. The 2013-14 budget will be adopted April 2 and voted on by the public May 14. 

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