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Local News

April 9, 2013

Schools face budget decisions

Some schools are facing difficult decisions as they prepare budgets to go before voters next month in statewide voting, officials say.

Oneonta City School district had faced a $1.5 million deficit because of declining state aid that was affecting all districts. At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting at Greater Plains Elementary School, Interim Superintendent David Rowley detailed 15.3 staffing cuts, including retirements and layoffs, he is proposing to help close the gap. No action was taken.

With those changes, along with realignment of the middle school and greater than expected state revenues, if the tax levy is set at 2-percent, the current deficit projection is $260,000, Rowley said.

The board will be discussing what the proposed tax rate will be at its April 17 meeting, also at Greater Plains. The maximum allowed under the state tax cap law is about 4.5 percent. Cuts to athletics and extracurricular programs are being considered, he said.

At Unatego Central School, business manager Nicholas Rosas said with refinancing debt and greater-than-expected state revenue, the district has a deficit of less than $700,000. At the start of budget season the total was about $1.5 million.

It appears programs will survive intact in further budget cuts, he said. However other actions, such as amortizing required retirement service payments and closing Otego Elementary School, are all options being considered, he said. A decision is expected later this month.

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