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CLIFTON PARK: Shen board gets back to business

Shenendehowa Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson presented the board of education and the public the district's year-end financial report for 2006-07 at the Tuesday, Aug. 14, meeting.

The district budgeted for almost $128 million of expenditures last year, with actual expenses just over $126 million.

As usual, we budgeted fairly conservatively, Robinson said. "We expended $1.8 million less than what we budgeted, which is less than one percent. I just want to keep it in perspective, people hear 1.8 million and think it's a lot of money, but it's less than one percent of the entire budget."

The majority of the district's revenue " $87 million " came from property taxes. Shenendehowa also received $38 million in state aid.

Robinson's report shows that the district had a surplus of $7.3 million as of June 30. About half of that will go directly toward the budget for the upcoming year, with the other half being maintained as a fund balance.

"We applied approximately half to lessen the impact on taxpayers this year, while at the same time preserving an equal amount that could then in all likelihood be used to reduce the impact next year," said board member Gary DiLallo. "It's the best of both worlds."

Gov. Eliot Spitzer recently approved state law that increased the fund balance amount allowed for school districts, as a percent of total budget, to three percent in 2007-08 and four percent thereafter.

"Right now, our fund balance is at 2.67 percent, which is below that 3 [percent] but it would have been above the 2 [percent]," Robinson said. "Our recommendation is to maintain this 2.67 percent because we certainly recognize there are certain things on the horizon."

Robinson said that the change to the law gave school districts added flexibility.

"That's the reason why the law is in place, to allow schools to have the transition from year to year to year to counterbalance the tax impact in the expenditure budget, so there's always a neutral point when we move forward," Robinson said.

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