School district warns of looming aid cuts

With state school aid expected to be cut dramatically in the coming years, district officials are bracing for the impact.

Superintendent Susan Swartz told the Scotia-Glenville

Central School District Board of Education Monday, Nov. 17, that the district could see a decrease in state aid of up to 5 percent, or about $950,000.

Looking forward I would expect that we will see little to no increase in state aid in 2009-2010, said Swartz.

The district's total budget is about $45.85 million, with about $18.27 million of that coming from state aid.

"If the district wants to maintain the programs they currently have and state aid goes down or is decreased, the district, like many others across the state, will be looking to make up that money," said Andrew Gianquinto, business administrator for the district.

The district will have to look at cost-saving options, such as a hiring freeze and consolidating evening or weekend activities to one building to conserve on electricity, Gianquinto said.

The district held two forums last week to discuss the current $26.7 million building proposition that will go before the public at a Tuesday, Dec. 16, vote.

Communications Director Bob Hanlon said there was not a big turnout at either forum, and those who did come out seemed to have more questions than actual concerns about the project, which will result in a minor tax increase to residents. The project will cost $37.6 million with $27.5 million coming in from state building aid, $935,000 from the state's Expanding Our Children's Education and Learning fund, and $900,000 from the district's debt reserve.

Taxpayers will be responsible for $7.3 million of the project, to be phased in between 2010 and 2026.

The project would increase taxes by an estimated maximum of 1.9 percent, or less than $5 per month by 2012. The 1.9 percent tax impact would be phased in during 2010 and 2013.

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