School budget awaits state

As the budget process moves forward, school board trustee and chair of audit committee Don Campanaro said the committee sat down with the head of transportation and looked at its costs for next year. Campanaro said the district is looking at replacing three buses. Because the district trades every five years and gets a good value on its used buses, taxpayers are only looking at paying between $2,000 and $4,000 a bus.

Campanaro also said that next year the district would be required to transport three or four students to Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville. He said the department has considered purchasing a mini-van to save money.

"We would look at getting [state Department of Transportation] certified," Campanaro said.

But until the state decides on its budget, the district has decided to wait a little longer before making any final decisions. Previously, Campanaro had said that Canastota was looking at a state aid reduction of about $660,000.

"There have been different statements made in Albany about anticipating more money on the table for education," Campanaro said."We decided to step back and see if money comes forth."

Superintendent Fred Bragan said he was in Albany yesterday and met with Assemblyman Bill Magee and an aide of Senator David Valesky.

"We shared some of our experiences as a small rural district," Bragan said. "We also asked for clarification on stimulus money and some confusion on the money coming through."

Bragan said state money given to schools for low income families and special education needs cannot be placed into the general fund. It must be used for that purpose. However, Bragan echoed Campanaro by saying there could be additional money for schools.

"There are no guarantees," he said. "We are still waiting for clarification as we approach the budget before crunch time."

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