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No comments on Lake Placid school budget

Same tax levy as last year; district officials limit comments to email only

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education hosted a virtual hearing on the district’s proposed 2021-22 budget on Tuesday. Unlike past hearings, at which parents and community members could voice their opinions in person, this year because of pandemic-related capacity limits people were directed to email comments and questions rather than join the board’s teleconference call.

No comments on the budget were emailed ahead of the hearing, nor after the hearing as of Thursday morning, according to district Clerk Karen Angelopoulos.

Superintendent Roger Catania and school board President Richard Preston presented details of the proposed 2021-22 budget during the hearing on Tuesday.

If the budget is approved by voters as is, the district plans to spend $20,731,143 in the next school year. That’s an increase of 3.77% over the current fiscal year — mostly because of salary increases and BOCES expenses — but the district isn’t planning to increase taxes. Instead, the district intends to use $488,570 from its reserves and $315,542 in federal aid from December’s coronavirus aid package, and levy the same amount of taxes from property owners as it did this year, $16,710,000.

That would translate to a tentative tax rate of $7.25 per $1,000 in assessed value. For a person with a home assessed at $300,000, that would mean school taxes of around $2,175. This rate could change when Essex County releases updated tax rolls.

The state tax cap for the district this year was 1.68%, but the zero-percent tax levy increase in this proposed budget would fall well below that. The estimated basic School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption would be $217.

Included in the budget is funding for free meals for all students, a special education teacher and teaching assistant position, a new district computer server and summer school programs, on top of existing services for students and families. Of the district’s total expenses next year, 78.6% would be used for educational programs for students, 13.74% for capital improvements and updates to school buildings, and 13.74% for administrative costs, according to Catania’s presentation.

The district’s annual budget vote is slated for Tuesday, May 18. Polls will be open at the Lake Placid Elementary School and at the Wilmington Community Center from 2 to 9 p.m. Voters who want to vote by absentee ballot can contact Angelopoulos at lpdistrictclerk@lakeplacidcsd.net for more information. Voters who want more information on the budget can view the entire budget document on the school’s website at www.lpcsd.org.

Also on the ballot, voters will see three candidates for three school board seats: Daniel Cash, Martha Prichard Spear and Colleen Locke. All three are incumbents.

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