State comptroller: Cazenovia school district ‘susceptible’ to financial stress

Continuing lack of state aid, other facts, means district could run out of money in near future

— Dubik agreed. “It’s that easy. It’s nothing that we’ve done. We’re losing state aid and other income with the [state 2 percent] tax cap,” he said. “We can’t continue to maintain these by taking it out of our reserve funds.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 budget, released last week, slates a 3.8 percent increase in education funding — of that amount, Cazenovia will receive an approximate .37 percent increase in aid, or $59,94, more than last year, Furlong said. Yet Cazenovia will simultaneously lose $1.1 million in 2014 aid due to the GEA, he said.

The governor’s initial budget proposal is therefore “very unfavorable to the [Cazenovia] district,” Dubik said.

He said he and Furlong have already met with district legislators Sen. David Valesky and Assemblyman Bill Magee who have promised to work hard to increase education funding in the state budget, which they have done every year.

Furlong said that if the state legislature can reduce Cazenovia’s GEA by about $600,000, or about half, the district would be “in good shape.” If that does not happen, however, the school board may have to look at cuts this year in anything from staff development money to teacher training money to program and athletics cuts to teacher layoffs, Dubik said.

“Everything will be looked at,” he said. “The school board will have some difficult decisions facing them on how to make up the deficit.”

The district is currently in the beginning stages of planning the 2014-15 budget, and will know more in a few weeks how the financial situation will look, Furlong said.

For more information on the state comptroller’s fiscal stress report, visit osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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