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BETHLEHEM: Early aid numbers show budget increases

More state aid figures to school districts in the 108th Assembly District are filtering in.

If the governor's budget is approved, the Bethlehem School District would receive an additional $532,089 of state school operating aid, according to numbers released by Assemblyman Tim Gordon, I-Bethlehem.

We haven't yet done our analysis, said Steve O' Shea, assistant superintendent for business in Bethlehem. "I need to take a closer analysis of that number but it looks to be a better starting point than the previous year."

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District is projected to receive $698,207 of additional state school operating aid.

Interim Business Administrator for RCS, Gene Grasso agreed with O' Shea that it's too early to assess the impact of the school aid figures.

"This proposal is based on the aid RCS is getting this year, which is still not verified. It is all estimates," Grasso noted.

Under Spitzer's plan, aid to RCS would increase a total of 2.93 percent, or 6.63 percent without BOCES, building, transportation and other non-base state aid line items.

Both RCS and Bethlehem have citizens budget committees that are assisting the school districts with the new school budgets that will be released in the spring. Bethlehem's new 40-member citizens budget committee will get its first look at Bethlehem's budget process at the Wednesday, Feb. 28, meeting of the school board.

O' Shea said specific state aid and budget numbers will not be revealed until the process moves close to the May budget vote.

"The most reliable budget numbers are usually toward the end of our process in late April," said O' Shea.

O'Shea said he is working with all departments to put the final touches on budget information in Bethlehem that will be revealed in a power point presentation at the Feb. 28 meeting.

Gordon said a legislative public hearing on the elemen-tary and secondary education portion of the executive budget proposal will be held Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Hearing Room B of the Legislative Office Building.

Guilderland Central School District, which is also in the 108th district, is slated to receive a state school operating aid increase of $298,598 over last year's numbers.""

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