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Schools get close to last year for funding

YATES, STEUBEN COUNTIES—Schools finally have the budget information from the state they need to complete their own budgets. One of the bills passed last week by the state legislature was about education. Now that Penn Yan, Dundee and Hammondsport know how much funding they will get (the same as last year), the school boards know where their budgets stand.

Penn Yan
On April 1, Penn Yan Central School District Interim Superintendent for Business Rodger Lewis told the school board, “We have gone over line by line the various functions of the budget. We feel we are at the level we felt we needed to be.” The budget is 2.63 percent over the current budget and totals $31,109,611.
Until March 31 the district felt it was a grim situation because of a $900,000 cut in the state budget. That cut was restored. Lewis said he found the revenue line for building aid actually dropped by $300,000 and he is attempting to find out why. As a result of the state decision, the tax levy of $15,225,787 will result in an increase of .52 percent. $300,000 of the $600,000 in aid will be put against the tax rate to achieve the small increase in tax levy. The other half will be placed in the fund balance for next year. One of the items that drove the 2009-10 budget is that debt service of a bit over $2 million is included in it.
Lewis said, “Next year there is another bump coming. That, combined with state aid will not make for easy budgeting. We’ll be in for tough times. Every school district in the state will have to tighten their belts.” Board member Anita Maroscher said, “We did cut quite a bit out of our capital budget. As I look over it, almost every operational area has a negative impact. I compliment the staff. Everyone chipped in.” Lewis said, “There was a lot of cutting. As an outsider I’m pleased to see how everyone here worked together. The positive result is the budget passing so we can get on with the business of educating children.”

Dundee Central School District board of education also heard news about the proposed state budget during their April 2 meeting. The proposed budget for 2009-10 is $13,806,958. The district expects $200,000 to be received the district, but this has not been confirmed as yet. Business manager Melissa Lawson said New York State has not formally applied to the Federal government for the funds. It is estimated that the tax levy of $4,412,180 will decrease from 4.6 percent to 3.3 percent. When the news about the amount that the district will receive is confirmed, the board could choose to reduce the levy more or restore cuts.

While the total funds Hammondsport school is getting this year is even with last year, the state is actually giving less. Kyle Bower, superintendent of Hammondsport, said in the upcoming school year Hammondsport will be getting $147,590 less from the state. The state budget is using federal stimulus funds to make the total amount even with last year. Bower said the school’s budget has a .3 percent increase in spending and no change in the tax levy.
“Federal spending is very specific,” he said about the Title 1-A and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)/Special Education funding. Congressman Eric Massa’s office announced in early March, New York schools would be getting federal funds. After part of the state budget was passed the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were confirmed again. Hammondsport will be getting $85,595 in Title 1-A and $162,000 in IDEA funding.
Bower said the district will also be cutting eight positions—two teaching, one administration, one teacher’s assistant, and four support staff. Bower had previously explained the remaining administrations’ duties would be reworked to make up for the loss.

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