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Dundee district faces budget cuts

DUNDEE—A revenue loss of $348,000 and a proposed spending increase of $601,000 would lead to a levy increase of 22 percent, a situation deemed “Unacceptable” by Dundee Central School District Business manager Melissa Lawson. The current proposed budget summary listed a total of $14,368,949 as compared to $13,768,273 in the current year, a 4.36 percent increase. The district is faced with the challenge of closing a gap between expenses and revenue for the 2010-11 school year. At the Feb. 11 meeting of the board of education Lawson presented a preliminary budget to the board.
Lawson said the federal government provided money to the states which used a piece of it as Stabilization dollars. In December the state cash flow difficulties accelerated. Lawson said now Stimulus funding is nonexistent for next year. The governor expects more federal money; however, if it doesn’t come in, the school district could be looking at deeper cuts. The estimated reduction in state aid is $456,000. In addition to cuts in state aid, Lawson aid she expects a continued decline in grants.
Lawson told the board, “We’re not alone. Last year we had a glimpse of difficult and troubled times. What we’re hearing and seeing is very disturbing. We don’t know our state aid. Everyone agrees there will be a cut. It’s absolutely devastating what we’re looking at. We’re heavily reliant on state aid and every dollar we lose puts a burden on the local taxpayers.”
During his report to the board, president Joseph Capurso said, “Obviously there will be some cuts. It’s tough to get figures down and I don’t know if we can get there. It’s premature to say we’ll set a ceiling on the tax levy.” Capurso said the district needs a list that counts it down. He suggested for the next three or four board of education meetings that Interim Superintendent Kathy Ring and staff put together a preliminary priority list for the board to review. After that a question of needs would be studied. Capurso said. “This is the best way to do something that will probably be very painful.”

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