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Odessa hears possible $951K budget gap

ODESSA—Superintendent Jim Frame told the Odessa-Montour board of education that using preliminary numbers about aid and contracted costs, the school district is looking at a $951,297 budget gap for 2011-12.
The board spent most of the Thursday, Jan. 27, workshop meeting starting to look at the budget. Frame explained these are not confirmed amounts and the district will have a clearer picture within days of Gov. Andrew Cuomo releasing his proposed budget, Feb. 1.
However, Frame said the district expects less in state and federal aid and an increase in expenditures like teachers’ salaries, contracts, and health insurance.
He added that if the state enacts a two percent tax cap, the district would only be able to raise $91,901. Board member Matt Walters said this would handicap municipalities and school districts from gaining revenue.
Frame said the district would use fund balance monies to offset whatever the budget gap is. He explained this does not include staffing or program cuts as well.
“We’ve found cost savings in all departments but special education,” said Frame. He explained he has been meeting with the different departments already.
Board member Scott Westervelt asked about the theoretical possibility of merging the campuses and not using the B.C. Cate Elementary School if enrollment is down. Frame said while class size is historically down, enrollment in the region is fluctuating oddly.
The next school board meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 8. It is expected to start at 7 p.m. following a 6 p.m. executive session.




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