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Committee discusses budget cuts

F-F school district looks to save $500,000

December 4, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - Meeting for the second time, the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Mid-year Budget Committee discussed finances and ways to trim the 2012-13 budget in an attempt to save the district around $500,000.

The cuts, according to Interim Superintendent Patrick Michel, are needed to generate $500,000 to place into the fund balance.

In June, $500,000 of the fund balance was used up to pay teacher salaries and unexpected medical bills.

Sitting in the multi-purpose room Monday, members of the Mid-year Budget Committee had reports read by the individual subcommittees on subjects such as insurance, sports, building reorganization, staffing and Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services consolidation.

One of the largest savings found so far would be switching retirees 65 and older to a Medicare Advantage plan.

District Treasurer Cary Shultz told the committee that 160 of the district's retirees are currently Medicare eligible.

Shultz said he read through two proposals from insurance companies and was going through two others. On average, Shultz said, the move could save the district about $167,000 from Feb. 1 through June 30, 2013.

Michel said an issue has been a "concerted effort" to try and make retirees panic about a health insurance change.

According to Michel, someone has been sending letters out that spread falsehoods, such as the district's new plan not covering pre-existing conditions and diminishing the quality of healthcare.

"It's not true. It's not how I treat people," Michel said.

Another topic was the current status of teachers. "I don't think there are any blanket positions that could be cut," middle school Principal Elizabeth Donovan said.

Any positions that could be cut, Donovan said, were cut in the spring.

Other suggestions from the board included: a cut in credits needed to graduate, from 25 to 22; closing the pool; cuts to spring sports and enrolling more children into the school's free- or reduced-lunch program to earn more benefits.

Shultz said cuts to the pool and spring athletics could save upward of $86,000.

Michel is confident cuts can be found throughout the budget to reach $500,000.

"It would be piecemeal. It's not going to be like one magic bullet," Michel said.



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