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Dominick: Stimulus aid a quick fix for J-E

Marilyn Dominick admits her satisfaction with the stimulus aid was temporary.

"I'm still worried what will happen two years from now," said Dominick, the superintendent of Jordan-Elbridge Central School District.

Through the federal stimulus package, J-E's school aid will increase 1.42 percent this year, meaning Dominick will not need to lay off teachers. That was the worry all along. The school's budget has increased 1.8 percent, without any spike in the tax levy. The short hike in funds from the government is enough to keep the financially unstable school in good health for the short term.

But in two years -- once the stimulus money wears off -- Dominick said the possibility of teacher cuts will rise again. Dominick said she is more than a little worried.

"Actually I'm a lot worried," she said. "I do think that this federal money is going to go away and districts need to be cautious about moving money into the federal fund line. When that money dries up it will have a huge impact on our general fund budget.

"As a result, I think we will see mass layoffs in two years if there's not good planning."

Paul Farfaglia, Jordan-Elbridge's teachers association president, lobbied for money with congressmen in Washington D.C. throughout February to raise money. Through constant dialogue, Farfaglia is trying to generate funds outside of the short-lived stimulus package.

J-E did not receive its full mandated funding through No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Cash flow outside of the stimulus package through these two avenues could soften the blow in two years.

"The stimulus is not ongoing revenue," Farfaglia said. "We've been pushing for state revenue outside of the stimulus to supplement that money because we know it's temporary."

Jordan-Elbridge receives roughly $200,000 in special education funding and $55,000 in Title I. Dominick said she was concerned that chunks of the special education money would not trickle down to the school -- worries that vanished after the BOCES webinar.

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