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Committee discusses possible cuts in F-F school district

November 27, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Parents and members of the Mid-Year Budget Committee met and discussed ideas to solve the current budget problems at Fonda-Fultonville Central School on Monday, where almost $500,000 in cuts are needed to close a budget gap.

Without spending cuts, the district would face a $1.4 million budget gap for 2013-14, requiring the tax levy to go up about 20 percent.

The committee will help determine the cuts that can be made to help build up the district's fund balance and avert cash-flow problems at the end of the year.

Interim Superintendent Patrick Michel said the meeting with parents was only a discussion about what could be cut.

"Just because we're saying we could cut these things, doesn't mean we're going to," said committee member Kathleen Georgia.

Some of the suggestions included eliminating spring athletics, reducing staff and transportation costs and closing the high school pool.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Monday.

Michel said the meeting will be closed to the public. The committee will discuss the cuts the committee will recommend to the school district's Board of Education, Michel said. The cuts will be approved within a month.

"I don't think I have a feeling yet for what the committee feels," said Bonnie Couture, a member of the committee.

More than 30 parents and concerned citizens attended the meeting Monday.

"I think people are too worried about saving what we have instead of building what we need," parent Mike Andersen said during the meeting.

"I do have high hopes. I think it was a good forum for everybody to at least get started having a discussion. Obviously not for a decision," Matt Derby of Tribes Hill said. "I'm a little dissatisfied with the numbers."

Michel appeared pleased with the input from parents.

"I think the positive take-away for me is we have to look towards reinventing ourselves and looking towards the future where crisis is an opportunity," Michel said.

The Transportation Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at the school. That committee will discuss possible cuts to the transportation department of the school.

A routine audit this month indicated the district's fund balance was depleted by unexpected health insurance costs and reductions in state building aid reimbursements.

Michel said between cuts in state aid and lower enrollment, the district does not have the funds necessary to continue without cuts.

Without spending cuts, the district would face a $1.7 million budget gap for 2013-14, requiring the tax levy to go up about 20 percent.

For the upcoming 2013-14 budget, the district would have to deal with a $1.7 million deficit if there are no spending cuts. By 2016-17, that could roughly double to a $3.3 million deficit, according to projections provided Monday.



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