For the Three Village Central School District, a lot is riding on Tuesday's budget re-vote, in which voters will decide the fate of a that would raise taxes by an average of $282.
This new proposed budget is about $1.9 less than the previous budget, and since it would carry a 2.99 percent tax levy increase, it is within the state's tax cap threshold and will require a simple majority of voter approval.
If the budget fails, the school district by law will have to adopt an austerity budget that would not allow a tax levy increase and would require $3.8 million in additional cuts.
An austerity budget would threaten many of the programs people fought for during recent school board meetings.
"If the second budget does not pass, there are huge cuts that have to be made that will pretty much almost destroy what is the Three Village Central School District," board president John Diviney said at a recent Board of Education meeting. "We have to have an appreciation for how important the next vote is."
Under an austerity budget, community organizations that currently use school facilities at no cost would then have to pay to use them, according to Diviney.
"That’s the one people forget about. It may not even be a big dollar amount to the district," he said. "People don’t realize they have the use of the facilities but that is one of the things that we would have to charge for as part of education law."
Additional teaching positions and other staff – along with the programs they deliver – would likely be cut further. The original budget called for the elimination of 85 full-time equivalent positions, and the new proposed budget would bring that total to 109, including abolishing two elementary assistant principal positions that will be vacant in 2012-2013 anyway.
Though some in the community felt the Three Village Teachers Association should re-open contract negotiations this year to help the district see some cost savings, president Claudia Reinhart said Monday that the TVTA did not choose to re-open it because it had already done so for the past two years. "We've done more than our fair share to support students in our district," she said.
Ultimately it will be up to the school board to decide what to cut, likely based on the advice of the central adminisration. But, they have said, it won't be pretty.