Tupper schools get ‘bullet aid’ boost

TUPPER LAKE – Extra state “bullet aid” has increased the Tupper Lake Central School District’s budget by $100,000.

The school board passed a resolution to approve the increase during Monday night’s school board meeting. District Superintendent Seth McGowan said news of the aid came in the form of a letter from state Sen. Betty Little dated June 23.

McGowan said the additional money won’t have any impact on the tax levy. It will be used to restore a program that updates the district’s technology every three years. Funding for that program was left out of the 2014-15 budget.

“We do a large (technology) purchase year one, and we pay it out over three years,” McGowan said. “We were at the end of that three-year cycle, and we had no way to continue with that cycle for the next three years.”

McGowan said keeping technology up-to-date for students is increasingly important.

“We have to make sure we’re never at a point were we’re relying on something instructionally and our computers shut down because they can no longer handle it,” McGowan said. “New technologies emerge. New classes that we may be teaching in one particular place may have requirements that we didn’t even consider six months ago.”

There is also a return in spending the $100,000. McGowan explained that the district’s technology purchases are made through the technology wing of BOCES, so 46 percent of the money spent comes back as state aid next year.

McGowan said meetings will be held before purchases are made to determine what the money should be spent on.

“Because technology changes every six months, what we thought would be either the devices or the workstations that we would have purchased six months ago have changed, so it’s no longer relevant,” McGowan said. “We now have to go out and do all of the pricing again. It’s always a trick. You try to strike when the iron is hot, but it doesn’t take long for that iron to cool off.”

The Tupper Lake Central School District budget passed in May with 491 yes votes and 109 no votes. A proposal to buy two new buses also passed, 440 to 159.

The budget calls for the district to spend almost $17 million in 2014-15; that’s down 0.83 percent from the current school year.

The amount of the new total to be raised in property taxes is $7,667,982. That levy is up 1.06 percent from the 2013-14 school year.