All local school budgets pass

North Elba Town Justice Dean Dietrich finishes casting his vote on Lake Placid School District’s 2018-19 budget at Lake Placid Elementary (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Tupper Lake

Tupper Lake’s school budget for the 2018-19 passed Tuesday night by a margin of 283 to 52. The $18,719,221 budget increases the tax levy by 6.0528 percent, but due to several exemptions for state money, it remains $6 below the tax cap.

A proposition to purchase two school buses over the next year was passed as well, 275 to 60.

Long Lake

Long Lake’s $4,067,872 school budget passed 102 to 23, raising the tax levy 2.16 percent. Two votes for the budget were marked as “spoiled.”

A proposition to purchase a bus in the next year passed 110 to 17.

Saranac Lake

Voters overwhelmingly approved the school budget for 2018-19 at Saranac Lake schools.

The budget propositions passed thusly: 314 for the budget, 39 against.

School buses: 313 yes, 36 no.

Library proposition: 296 yes, 51 no.

School board: Incumbent Rick Retrosi was re-elected with 310 votes. Newcomer Nancy Bernstein received 304 votes, and Aurora White, who will be returning to the board after a one-term hiatus, received 283.

After a favorable vote for the district’s 2018-19 budget, Saranac Lake Central School taxpayers can anticipate little or no increase in their school taxes this year. The property tax cap for the district this year was negative 1.44 percent. The total budget clocked in at $31,750,00.

District business administrator Cindy Moody said they’re going ahead with another phase of the capital project this summer, spending $9.7 million that the voters already approved last year. Superintendent of schools Diane Fox described the disbursal as “a ban, not a bond,” for the summer capital project.

In other school news, the district has approved a contract to sell the Lake Clear school. Superintendent Diane Fox said she is not at liberty to disclose the buyer. The district approved the sale of the Lake Clear school last summer and the sale didn’t go through. Fox said she’s hopeful that this one will.

The district is also looking into creating a combined Saranac Lake/Lake Placid lacrosse team.

“We felt our hockey SLP [Saranac Lake Placid] team went really well,” said Fox. A combined team would mean transportation would be shared between the schools, she said, which would make it easier on students to get to practices and games.

Retrosi reported that the unified basketball team won their match in the last half second of the game. “It was great,” he said. “A buzzer beater.”

Board member Jim Abendroth, who declined to run again and is finishing his term, said he attended part of the unified game and also went to the track meet, where he was wowed by how many students are participating. “We have so many kids participating, they have to run against each other,” he said.

AuSable Valley

AuSable Valley Central School District’s budget, including a 2.33 percent increase in the tax levy, was approved by voters in a 324 to 102 result.

Superintendent Paul Savage II said the tax levy will be $13,807,192 in the 2018-19 school year.

The estimated tax rate per $1,000 assessed value will be $17.24, or $1,724 for a property valued at $100,000. There were no propositions on the ballot.

Lake Placid

Locals approved the Lake Placid School District 2018-19 budget in 272 to 52 vote. A separate item on the ballot pertaining to the school district leasing one 66-seat bus and one 30-seat bus was approved in a 290 to 34 vote. The tax cap was 2.96 percent, and the district stuck to it, making the levy $15,590,253 in local tax dollars.

In a previous interview, Lake Placid Superintendent Roger Catania said the one of the major projects this year’s budget would cover would be hiring a second librarian for the district. The budget would also go toward reserve funds, which would pay for SAT and AP test for students’ whose families can’t afford the costs.

“Some families, because they have the means, are able to get more opportunities than others, and we’re beginning to recognize the gap,” Catania said. “It was a gap we could make a difference in by covering the expenses for these placement tests.”

Catania said the part of the budget would go toward replacing “a couple of pickup trucks that have seen better days.”


The Keene Central School budget was approved by approximately 91 percent of voters with 120 voting yes, 11 voting no and 1 leaving it blank.

KCS’s tax cap is 3.02 percent for 2018-19, and that’s what the proposed levy was. The total spending amount will be $6,254,746.