Colonie schools prepare for state aid cuts

Colonie schools are preparing for the possibility of additional state aid cuts in January, according to school officials.

Gov. David Paterson ordered $750 million in reductions to scheduled December payments, according to his office, to cut into the state's budget deficit.

The Division of the Budget forecasted a $3.2 billion deficit, and the state comptroller predicts the budget gap could be more than $4 billion. However, the states Deficit Reduction Plan enacted on Wednesday, Dec. 2, combined with administrative cuts, only included $2.7 billion in savings, according to a Sunday Dec. 13 statement.

As sufficient revenue becomes available, the state will potentially pay the amounts that were delayed, according to the statement. "He also reserves the right to institute further payment delays later over the remaining months of the fiscal year in order to preserve the State's cash position."

Tom Rybaltowski, assistant superintendent for business in North Colonie, said the district was operating under the assumption it would have all of its state aid, until two weeks ago when $61,000 were delayed due to state budget constraints.

"The bigger problem that we're hearing about is the potential for withholding January's aid," he said.

The state could hold 19 percent of the districts STAR payments in, which would amount to $900,000, Rybaltowski said.

"We don't know if the money is really delayed for a short time, or if it's being cut mid-year," he said.

Rybaltowski said the district is keeping its options open as far as how to make up the difference, and using reserves and making cuts are all potential solutions.

"We're not waiting, we're planning," he said.

He said multiple plans, both for optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, are being drawn up going forward. He also said federal stimulus money that was promised last year has already been accounted for, and could not be used for January aid cuts.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment