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B'ville school district faces possible $5m gap

The Baldwinsville Central School District is facing a potential $5 million gap for the 2010-2011 budget, which administrators and the Board of Education are looking to close without affecting student instruction or the average tax rate.

James Rodems, assistant superintendent for management services, said the district anticipates the gap due to a variety of factors, the most critical of which are a possible reduction in state aid and in county sales tax.

Due to the state's fiscal crisis, the district expects a reduction of $1.8 million in state aid mid-year for the current school year, reducing the amount of aid from about $39 million to roughly $37 million. As the state works to solve its financial problems, this amount of aid could remain flat at $37 million for the next three school years, while the district's expenses will continue to increase. Major influences on the budget each year are increases in employee benefits costs (including health care and retirement), fuel, utilities and salary increases.

A reduction in county sales tax is another scenario the district is anticipating. Currently the district receives $1.25 million in sales tax each year from Onondaga County. The district's agreement with Onondaga County will expire in December 2010. It is uncertain whether the district will continue to receive all this sales tax after December 2010. The district must consider this possibility while developing the budget.

Planning the 2010-11 budget is especially challenging because administrators and the Board of Education must keep in mind several other sources of revenue that may not be available or will be smaller after 2010-11. Losing these sources of revenue will ultimately affect the budgets of the next three to five years. The district wants to create a budget for 2010-11 that will be sustainable in the future without sacrificing programs. Besides state aid and sales tax, the sources of revenue that affect the budget are:

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