Press-Republican

Wednesday

April 17, 2013

City School maintains programs, considers restorations

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School District officials have proposed a 2013-14 budget that maintains all current programs and calls for no layoffs.

The $39.4 million spending plan, which has not yet been adopted by the School Board, carries a tax-levy increase of 2.49 percent.



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Though the district reported last month that it anticipated a $1.2 million deficit for the coming school year, City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short told the board at a recent meeting that increases in revenue allow the school to close the gap without cutting programs.

Under the state’s 2013-14 budget, the school will receive $591,586 more in state aid than was originally projected in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal.

“That delivered us from having to make any more of those dramatic cuts,” Short said at the meeting.

In addition, he has proposed putting $665,000 toward the spending plan from the district’s employee retirement reserve, a fund established to handle increases in Employee Retirement System costs.

RETIREMENTS HELP

Savings will also be realized through retirements, as the equivalent of one full-time secondary teaching position will be eliminated through attrition, and other retirees will be replaced at lower salaries.

Short said the increase in state aid also allows the district to reduce its use of fund balance from $1.9 million to $1.7 million.

“If we can slowly become less reliant on that fund-balance reserve, we then take away our potential fiscal cliff,” he said.

GYMNASTICS FUNDS SOUGHT

During the public-comment portion at the start of the meeting, Bob Bunnell, a member of the Plattsburgh High School Gymnastics Support Group, urged the board to reinstate funding for the sport.

Eliminated last spring due to budget cuts, the PHS gymnastics team raised enough money to fund itself this school year.

Following Short’s budget briefing, board member Fred Wachtmeister said he would support increasing the tax levy, which is well under the district’s calculated 5.58 percent limit, as a means of restoring previously eliminated programs like gymnastics and field trips.

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