Lake Placid school budget ready for voters

LAKE PLACID – The Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education unanimously adopted the 2013-14 budget Tuesday night.

Next up are two public hearings, one in Lake Placid and one in Wilmington, followed by a May 21 public vote. The budget would raise the tax levy by 3 percent, meeting the state’s property tax cap. It does not include layoffs or major programming cuts like some other area school districts.

“We worked hard on this one,” school board President Mary Dietrich told the Enterprise Friday. “It really was a collaborative effort. The goal was to keep our programs intact. Some are being restructured, but for the most part we’re looking to have a strong foundation for the new administrative team.”

Voters will also select two new board members when they head to the polls next month. The terms of Janet Smith and John Hopkinson are expiring. Smith, the board’s current vice president, won’t run again, while Hopkinson plans to seek a new three-year term. He was appointed to Gerald Blair’s unexpired term last summer.

So far, only Hopkinson is running. Candidates’ petitions, each with 25 qualified signatures, are due to the district clerk by Monday.

The May 21 vote will also include a proposition for an energy project that includes replacement of a boiler and a cooling tower at the elementary school, Dietrich said.

“It’s project that we have to do,” she said. “They’re really on their last legs. … If we’re able to put it into this energy project, the state will give us, at a minimum, 19.9 percent aid back. So we’re doing this. If the public approves this initiative, then the state will give us an additional 10 percent.”

Dietrich didn’t have specifics about the project’s costs on Friday because she’s out of town. The Enterprise will meet with Dietrich, board member Herb Stoerr and the district’s budget officer, Leonard Sauers, next week to learn more about the project’s specifics.

Dietrich said it will be paid for through savings.

“It’s really not going to add any cost to the budget,” she said. “That’s guaranteed. If we don’t make that savings, then the company is liable for it. It will not cost the taxpayers anything.”

Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or