Press-Republican

January 19, 2013

NCCS anticipates decrease in revenue in 2013-14

By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
Press-Republican

---- — ROUSES POINT — The Northeastern Clinton Central School District is anticipating some difficult decisions in regard to its spending plan for 2013-14.

At a Community Budget Discussion held Wednesday night at Rouses Point Elementary School, NCCS Interim Superintendent Gerald Blair told attendees that early projections indicate the district will experience a decrease in revenue of approximately 4.7 percent, or $1.3 million, over the current year.

“That’s the decrease on the revenue side,” Blair said. “That’s not counting anything on the expenditure side.”

DWINDLING RESERVES

Last spring, in an effort to balance its 2012-13 budget, the school eliminated seven bus runs and returned some special-education services to the district rather than purchase them through BOCES.

As a result, Blair said, NCCS will receive less transportation and BOCES aid from the state next school year.

The district will also receive less return on money it has invested, he noted, as interest rates have gone down.

In addition, the school applied $3 million in fund balance to its 2012-13 spending plan in order to avoid a tax-levy increase, Blair said, leaving just $1,578,549 in remaining reserve funds.

The revenue projections presented by the interim superintendent Wednesday assume that the district will propose a tax-levy increase of 2 percent for next school year, as well as use $1.5 million in fund balance.

However, Blair said, “the board and others who will be involved in the decision will have to decide how much money they put in.”

And, he noted, applying $1.5 million in reserves to the upcoming spending plan leaves almost no fund balance for the following year.

“I see next year (2014-15) as a huge huge problem,” Blair said. “This year (2013-14) is just a huge problem.”

EXPECTS INCREASED COSTS

Blair’s revenue projections also assume the district will receive nearly $14 million in state aid, the same amount it was provided last year.

“I’m praying that we maintain that,” he said.

The district, however, won’t know for sure about that until late February or early March.

And, Blair said, he is uncertain how New York state’s debt, recently reported at $63.3 billion, will affect aid to schools.

Over the next couple of weeks, NCCS will assess its 2013-14 expenditures, which, Blair noted, are certain to increase over the current year.

“Gas, I’m sure, is going to be more expensive than it was last year; I’m sure that a book is going to be more expensive,” he said. “Whatever that’s going to come out to be, I’ll know in about two weeks.”

How the district will arrive at a balanced spending plan for next school year, Blair added, will depend “on what the citizenry feels that they should do for their school.”

“Do they want to support their school at the present level, (or) do they want the school to be cut?”

NCCS will hold another Community Budget Discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the High School.

Email Ashleigh Livingston:

alivingston@pressrepublican.com