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Budget meeting is open to public

November 29, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA-Fonda-Fultonville Central School will have their second Mid-Year Budget Committee open to the public, but public comment will not be allowed.

Interim Superintendent Patrick Michel said the meeting initially was closed to the public due to concerns the proceedings could not advance as planned.

Several parents, Michel said, became irate during the meeting at some of the proposed cuts.

However, Michel said the committee relayed to him they wanted to keep the meeting open to the public.

"I'm very curious how emotional people will get once we start talking specifics," Michel said.

Michel said he would respect the wishes of the board.

Michel said in a previous meeting 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.

The state Committee on Open Government Executive Director Robert Freeman said that school board advisory subcommittees are not subject to the state's Open Meetings Law. Legally, they could meet behind close doors.

If the committee was made up solely of school board members and enough were meeting to form a quorum, it would be required to follow the law. There have been numerous court decisions that deal with subcommittees comprised of a mix of school board members and other parties acting in an advisory fashion.

"Open Meetings Law doesn't apply," Freeman said.

According to Freeman, giving advice is, in and of itself, not a governmental function alone.



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