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Governor's budget proposal calls for continued loss of state aid at Fayetteville-Manlius

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District would lose more than $3.1 million in state aid from this year to next under the budget proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo Feb. 1.

Cuomo proposed a $1.5 billion reduction, or 7.3 percent, in total state education expenditures to cope with New York's serious fiscal problems. That reduction is in actual, year-to-year dollars - not through a slower-than-planned rate of increase.

The Governor's budget proposal contained a series of elements that would impact school districts across the state, from limiting reimbursements for special education summer school to the prospect of some relief from mandated expenses that drive up costs.

The proposed $3.1 million loss in state aid for F-M, combined with increased costs such as salaries, health insurance and required pension contributions, means that the district is heading into the development of the 2011-12 budget with a plan to reduce approximately $2.6 million due to this shortfall.

District officials will hold two community budget forums to talk about these necessary reductions. The first is scheduled at 10 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Avenue, Manlius. The second is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Enders Road Elementary School, 4725 Enders Road, Manlius.

"We anticipated a significant reduction in state aid, and we knew that the federal dollars would not be renewed," said Michael Vespi, assistant superintendent for business services. "We've been working on corresponding budget reductions since July so we can attain a reasonable tax levy that will continue to support high quality programs and services for our students."

This would represent the third straight year that F-M saw a decline in educational funding from the state; aid was essentially flat the year prior to that. Federal stimulus funding for education, which helped offset some of the aid shortfalls of the previous two years, is no longer available.

The district made more than $2.8 million in budget cuts and operational efficiencies last year, which limits the available options to reduce spending going forward.

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