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TI Central to increase tax levy by 3.2 percent

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CLAYTON — Thousand Islands Central will once again dig deep into its “rainy day fund” to balance its budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Thousand Islands will apply $1,121,356 from its fund balance — leaving a projected $1.6 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year — to buy down its 2013-14 tax levy and keep the increase under the state-mandated tax cap.

In Thousand Islands’ case, the district would have to keep its levy increase at or under 3.25 percent in the next fiscal year. Otherwise, it would have to persuade 60 percent of its voters to override the tax cap, under state law.

Under the district’s preliminary budget, next year’s total levy will be $10,863,499, up by $341,910 — or 3.25 percent — from this year.

This would be the second year in a row that the district is taking out $1.1 million from its fund balance to balance its budget.

District Superintendent Frank C. House said this is probably the last year the district will be able to take such a large chunk of money out of its fund balance.

Thousand Islands was facing a $516,101 budget shortfall, which was largely created by significant increases in employee benefit costs, Mr. House said.

Thousand Islands is expecting to spend more than $5.5 million in employee benefits next year — an 11 percent, or $574,402, increase of this year.

The school district’s total spending will be $20,395,294 unless the school board makes further changes. This would be a 4.1 percent, or $804,682, increase over this year’s total budget.

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