UE School Budget: Keeping Community in Mind

By Erika Mahoney

October 9, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2012 at 8:31 AM EST

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) I n the earliest start yet for Union-Endicott Central School District budget talks, Superintendent Dr. Suzanne McLeod provided early projections for the 2013-2014 year Tuesday night.

The reason behind a two month start -- another challenging budget ahead, and a community that is feeling sharp tax increases due to the Huron settlement.

Superintendent Dr. Suzanne McLeod said it's important to figure out what goals they need to meet for students and staff while still being respectful to the community.

"There is enough sensitivity to the community here that absolutely every effort will be made, not only on the part of the administrators, but at the board of education, to be very respectful to this community after the surprise of this summer," she said.

And with shrinking state aid, drafting a budget will be no easy task.

Other pressures include the state's tax levy cap and rising pension and health care costs.

"There comes a point when there is really nothing left to cut, anymore, and frankly, what we are down to here in Union-Endicott, is kindergarten, which is not mandated in New York state, the remaining extracurriculars, we've already cut 25 percent from both our athletic program as well as all of our clubs and extracurricular activities," said McLeod.

McLeod said she is calling on New York legislators to help because of the challenges they face.

She is also calling on the public, and parents, for their input.

Four public workshops have already been scheduled, the first one on January 23, 2013.

The budget must be done by late April, with a public vote on the third Tuesday of May, 2013.