2014-04-26 / Galeton News

Galeton school faces budget crunch

Galeton Area School Board members are continuing deliberations on the district’s 2014-15 operating budget, which will be presented for public input next month. It must be in place by June 30.

During this month’s meeting, the board came under fire from a local citizen, attorney Mike Plummer, for its failure to raise real estate taxes incrementally in recent years. By drawing on the district’s cash reserves, rather than increasing taxes, the board has put the district in a weak fiscal status that could result in a substantial tax hike or painful budget cuts, Plummer said.

“Fiscal responsibility sometimes demands that you do unpopular things,” he added, in response to one board member’s observation that constituents were opposed to raising taxes in prior years.

Galeton faces higher costs from “cyber school,” an online education option that is serving 34 district students at a cost of about $500,000 annually, as well as higher payments for pensions and employee health insurance.

No proposed tax increase has been formally announced by the board.

In other business, the school board accepted a resignation letter from school librarian Darlene Forsythe and welcomed Julie Lane to fill the seat of board member Rich Lehman, who resigned.

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