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Budget tightening begins at Mohonasen

She said the district has already reduced expenses over the years and the programs are down to almost the "bare bones" now. With overall aid from the state reducing 7.3 percent, the school is facing an additional burden and the exact numbers will become clear in the upcoming days.

"Mohonasen is a district that is heavily reliant on state aid, it is about 49 to 50 percent reliant on state aid," she said.

With the bleak briefing at hand, community members gathered into a few groups to discuss the two proposed questions for the night.

"Clearly when you have to make cuts that are that significant, we need to have everybody at the table to talk as a community," said Spring. "We'll talk a little bit about the things that are not mandated and put them out on the table."

The first question asked if there would be any areas to increase class size of students. Kindergarten had lowest average of 19.7 students per class and typically the class number gradually increased going up to fifth grade. The general consensus from all groups was not to increase elementary class sizes, while increasing the class size of high school students was suggested to be explored.

Next, community members addressed what areas of non-mandated expenses to cut, with all groups desiring more information on the actual expense of each area. Generally, field trips, professional development and limiting extracurricular activities were areas thought to cut funding.

"There are going to be difficult and painful decisions we have to make, but we believe that we are all in this together and we need to talk this through together, so we can do what is right for our children and our community," said Spring.

The next budget forum is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Mohonasen High School in the Farnsworth Technology Center from 6:30 to 8: 30 p.m. with attendees breaking into groups again. During the Feb. 15 meeting district officials are expected to address the implications of Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget. The third budget forum is at the same location on Wednesday, March 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

District officials are urging community members to attend and are asked to RSVP before the forums by calling 356-8250 or e-mailing aleon@mohonasen.org.""

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