After initially changing the next meeting date for Cazenovia Central School District Board of Education from March 19 to March 26, last week the district postponed the next public budget work session until 6:30 p.m. April 2 in the Cazenovia High School Auditorium.
“Originally, we moved the meeting … to give us time to answer any questions and to find out any information the board may want to ask about the budget,” said Superintendent Bob Dubik. “Then, [the meeting was moved again] for two reasons: we are in mediation for the support staff, and finally got a mediator assigned to us, for March 26. [The mediator] said to plan for as long as we have to … and we didn’t want to pass that up. And, the state is saying they may have a budget by the end of next week, so we were thinking ‘Why go through this if we are getting some extra money?’”
Since the administrators and board members first publicly discussed the 2012-13 preliminary budget on March 12, the $412,700 gap had been reduced to about $363,000, due in part to decreases in National Grid utility costs.
As the state government continues to move toward finalizing its budget, Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong said Cazenovia may receive much-needed additional state aid. “It could range from $60,000 under what the Senate has said, to $120,000 under what the Assembly is saying,” he said. “If we get the $120,000, that would really help us out … Personally, I think we will get about $60,000.”
Over the past three years, the school district has seen a decrease in state aid revenue of $1.5 million. Having already trimmed excess costs, the board of education and administration has little left to cut. At the previous budget work session, members of the public stressed the importance of not cutting academic programming.
While 3.5 teaching (or teaching assistant) positions may be eliminated, Dubik said no programming will be cut. “These are tough decisions that the district has never faced. We are looking for areas that have the least impact on educational programs and the continuing excellence in education,” he said. “We are not even considering eliminating any programs right now. We may be reducing them, but we are still offering them.”
Up-to-date information on the 2012-13 preliminary budget is now available on the district’s website, caz.cnyric.org. The board of education members will vote on the budget April 16, and the public will head to the polls May 15. The public is encouraged to attend the April 2 meeting.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.