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Budget tightening begins at Mohonasen

Before Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposed state budget, Mohonasen community members gathered to talk about what direction the district should take to achieve cost savings.

Mohonasen Central School District held the first community budget forum on Monday, Jan. 31, which had a brief presentation by Superintendent Kathleen Spring before attendees broke in separate groups to address to questions on reducing the budget. In the coming months community members will be deciding how to close the $5 million gap in funds the district could be facing in the 2011-12 budget.

I think we are looking at something that is very different this time, said Spring about the 2011-12 budget. "We have been able to accomplish a balance between our student's needs and what we feel is a good job in shaping our taxes for the overall community without a lot of pain I'm not sure we are there anymore."

The district might have to make cuts and reductions that haven't been done in the past, she said, with nothing being "off limits" at this point. Outside influences, such as the proposed continued reduction in state aid and the property tax cap, are "chipping away" at the districts budget. Mandated expenses are also increasing, leaving the district little room for revenue growth.

Spring shared an anecdote about the position of the district.

"Somebody saw the podium that I am standing at and this afternoon when we were putting the room together the wheel broke off, so we have it propped up with some books," said Spring. "They made the comment that maybe this is symbolic of the process that we are going through that all it will take is to kick one of these books and things will start to tumble we are trying to balance what we can shave away without crumbling our programs."

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