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LCSD board approves 3.2 tax increase

— However, not all of the school district's “resources” will survive the 2012-2013 proposed school budget. The apparently successful FOCUS program, which offers at-risk students an alternative to the traditional education offered at the largely populous high school, will be terminated at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. FOCUS serves 44 students at a 15 percent higher cost per student than their counterparts at the high school.

The proposed budget increases school taxes by 3.2 percent. With declining funding from Albany, the burden lies more heavily on local taxpayers. Last school year, local taxpayers had to make up for $10 million in budget shortfalls, Johns explained, and that number could reach as high as $24 million during the 2013-2014 school year.

In addition to an increase in school taxes, the proposed budget calls for the elimination of 40 or more jobs within the school district. This comes after two successive years of job cuts.

The proposed budget still must be approved by voting taxpayers on May 15.

“Ultimately the decision is [the community's],” said board member John Kennedy. “If we don't pass this, we're in big trouble.”

The 2012-2013 school budget proposal is available online at liverpool.k12.ny.us.

Redistricting proposal approved

The board also unanimously accepted recommendations to redistrict for the 2012-13 school year. The recommendations were put forth by a subcommittee headed by Kennedy.

The proposal includes five general recommendations. First, the redistricting must be implemented by September of 2013. Second, the redistricting lines should be based on geography. Third, the name of any building to be closed by the 2013-14 school year must be announced by June 2012. Finally, the redistricting lines should accommodate special programs.

The board only voted to accept and move forward with these general recommendations. No specific plans have been determined yet, as the subcommittee is determining whether or not to hire an outside consultant to assist in the redistricting process.

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