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North Colonie budget plans come in under cap

District to dip slightly into reserves but plans to maintain programs, staffing

— North Colonie is set to stay within the tax cap for the 2014-15 school year without making any cuts to staff or programs with a budget projected at $101 million, an increase of $3.2 million from the previous year.

Superintendent of North Colonie Central Schools Joseph Corr presented the overview of the 2014-2015 budget to the Board of Education Monday, March 3, in the library at Shaker High School. He said the district is doing its best to maintain its staff and programs under increasingly difficult financial times due to declining state aid.

“If we are going to continue to live up to our ideal of not laying off our fellow colleagues, we must look carefully at every opportunity to realize savings through attrition or declining enrollment while simultaneously maintaining programs, opportunities for students and support for staff,” said Corr.

He said the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and the tax cap have taken resources from many schools throughout the state, creating problems when it comes time to prepare the school’s budget.

Although some school funding was restored in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget, the amount does little to restore pre-GEA funding levels. The school expects to receive $17.5 million in state aid and use $3.7 million in reserves for the coming year.

“We had a good year last year with our fund balance, but we are starting to dip into that fund balance so we have to continue to monitor the actual use of the fund balance with eye on the fact that we are using more of our reserves than before to meet our operating expenses,” said Corr. “We need to be mindful of that.”

Last the school anticipated using $1 million from its reserves, but was able to put close to $600,000 of that money back in the reserves.

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