Mohon unveils ‘grim’ forecast

Tax cap limits spending, school aid decreases as costs increase

— Mohonasen Central School District’s budget forecast for next school year doesn’t appear to provide any relief from continuing staffing cuts.

District Superintendent Kathleen Spring presented an overview of the initial projections and possibilities for the 2012-13 budget during the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Dec. 5. Last year, the district cut 34 positions and next year’s budget has the school district considering cuts to elementary art and music programs along with librarians, according to Spring.

Despite 2011-12 budget cuts — including the full-time equivalent of 19 teachers, four teaching assistants, nine support staff and two-and-a-half administrative positions — Spring said the upcoming budget is “much more grim.”

“We are going to have to look at significant budget cuts again,” said Spring. “We are going to have to make very, very difficult decisions this year.”

Despite the gloomy outlook looming over the district, Spring said she is still optimistic about public education. She said the district and residents must advocate the importance of every child receiving a quality education.

“We are trying to get the message out to our legislators and to the governor about what is happening to public schools because of the budget cuts,” said Spring.

Spring suggested if there is a grassroots movement of residents going to the local offices of their state representatives to express their concerns, it could provoke change in cuts to education.

“What I am hoping is that we can get people upset enough to speak out,” said Spring. “We are hoping we get people out to talk about what their school means to them and what they want to happen.”

Spring said this is the fifth year the district has faced decreasing or flat state aid, while costs are continuing to increase. She argued the district has made fiscally responsible decisions and made cuts while trying to maintain programs.

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