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Penn Yan prepares for possible cuts

PENN YAN--Penn Yan school district officials announced during the Wednesday, May 13 board of education meeting they have put together a list of programs and services totaling $2 million that could be cut if the statewide budgetary shortfall affects state funding for the district.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to projections of a $61 billion shortfall in New York state.
Superintendent Howard Dennis said that he and Assistant Superintendent for Business Cathleen Milliman put together the list but hope it will not have to be put into effect.
"We don't know what's going on with state funding, the state is billions in debt and the governor says he's taking it from schools and hospitals," said Milliman. "We put together the list in case Cuomo takes the money back, but I will not be releasing the contents of that list."
Unlike the federal government, state governments are required to pass a balanced annual budget.
District members also commented on the state-mandated absentee ballots for the annual school vote.
"It's kind of crazy that we have to spend the money on absentee ballots but (at the same time Cuomo) is making us cut money," said Milliman, who added that countywide it is estimated that absentee ballots will cost school districts $400,000.
Dennis agreed, and said absentee ballots were "a waste of money that won't get us anywhere."
The board also voted to approve the proposed budget for next year after a presentation by Milliman. She said the proposed $37,200,125 budget will be up 2.65 percent from last year equating to just under $1 million. The tax cap is set at 1.99 so the tax levy the district arrived at will total 1.98, Milliman said.
She added the budget hearing will be done virtually on May 26, with the ballots containing the budget being mailed the next day.
"By June 9 all absentee ballots must physically be in the district by 5 p.m. that day," Milliman said.
High School Principal Dave Pullen discussed graduation possibilities but said right now there is too much confusion to do any real planning.
"We're working on every angle, we have Option A which is an on-campus ceremony," Pullen said. "Student leaders reached out and said they would love to have graduation even if it is just students. That would be a challenge but that is option one. Option two is prerecorded and option three is where we have students drive through the campus (a third of the class) at a time so they can take pictures."
He added the school only needs three days warning to put together a live ceremony, however, district officials said they were not clear as to whether authorization for a live ceremony would come from the governor or locally or both.

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