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South Colonie budget forum sees major turnout

District residents say they fear losing programs and coaches

— UPDATE: When the 2014-2015 passed the senate and assembly on March 31 South Colonie was awarded $95,224,128, which is an increase of nearly $500k. In the first draft of the budget the school was expecting to receive just under $200k. In the coming weeks the school board will look at what programs they can restore.

The cafeteria at Shaker Road Elementary was filled to capacity with district administrators, staff, parents, students and athletes Tuesday, March 25, in support of staff that may be cut due to budget constraints.

The South Colonie Central School District held a forum Tuesday to discuss the 2014-15 budget and the financial issues the district is facing.

Since the 2010-11 school year, South Colonie has lost $13.2 million in state funding as a result of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, and the district expects to miss out on another $3.1 million in funding for the upcoming budget. As a result, nearly 200 positions and numerous programs have been cut over the last four years. The district said it needs an additional $182,000 in state aid in order to preserve some of its programs for the 2014-15 school year. The actual figure received could go up when the state budget is approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which had not yet happened by the time The Spotlight had gone to press. Check online at www.spotlightnews.com for updates to this story.

On Tuesday, though, the concern seemed to center on the unknown.

“The largest issue we’re grappling with is what we’re going to get in state aid,” said Sherri Fisher, assistant superintendent for management services and strategic planning. “We need $182,000 in additional state aid to balance the budget we currently have. If we do not receive that, we will have to find another way — either through some other revenues or additional expenditure reductions — to make sure our budget is in balance.”

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