The Northern Westchester Examiner

Positive Forecast Given for Lakeland Schools Budget

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Lakeland Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Stone told the Board of Education last week he was “optimistic” about the 2014-15 budget.

“For the first time in my four years I can say I’m excited this year to present and prepare a budget for 2014 and 2015,” Stone remarked at the board’s first monthly work session on the budget. “I’m confident the board and the community will be pleased with the final product.”

Stone said he anticipated only a one percent spending increase, and vowed the district would come in well below the state mandated two percent tax levy cap.

While noting the district was expecting to receive increased state aid, Stone attributed the district’s sound financial standing to long range financial policies and planning and maintaining adequate reserves and fund balances.

“We’re going to go as low as we can go with this one (budget),” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Ray Morningstar. “I don’t see us harming future budgets by keeping a low budget this year.”

Morningstar presented a line by line review of the transportation, support services and operations and maintenance portions of the budget. Overall, those areas are projected to drop $426,416.

The district is budgeting $900,000 for gas and diesel fuel for buses. The buses average 11,000 miles per day and 10% of the fleet is replaced each year. Stone’s salary will remain at $250,000, plus $6,000 for mileage.

The next budget meeting is set for February 6. The district-wide budget vote will be held May 20.

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