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Heuvelton Central School eyes $100,162 budget shortfall in 2014-2015

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HEUVELTON - Heuvelton Central School is looking at a preliminary shortfall of $100,162 for the 2014-2015 school year as it heads into budget season.

At Wednesday’s board of education meeting Superintendent Susan E. Todd said the numbers used to come up with the preliminary budget came from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive budget, released in January, adding that the numbers may change when the final state budget is passed by April 1.

Although the district will be receiving $80,401 more state aid than last year Mrs. Todd said the increase is minimal compared to the cost of operating the school.

Salary increases and health insurance costs alone will outpace jump in state aid, Mrs. Todd said.

Foundation aid remains frozen this year at $5.4 million, Mrs. Todd said, though she noted that the state’s gap elimination adjustment, a budgetary measure taken by New York state in 2010 that funnels school aid to pay down the state’s deficit, is crippling the district.

This year the state is taking $258,140 of school aid to Heuvelton, down from $351,603 last year.

Mrs. Todd said, “If they just eliminated the gap elimination adjustment we’d be okay.”

Mrs. Todd encouraged board members and residents to contact their state representatives to get them to work on removing the four-year old budget measure.

Michael Robinson, assistant school business manager, said despite the $100,162 budget gap the district is in a better place than many.

Mrs. Todd said they are working to find places to cut in order to get their budget into alignment. In total the district is looking at a possible spending plan totaling $12.5 million.

During Wednesday’s board meeting Mrs. Todd also updated the board on the on-going search for a new elementary principal.

Mrs. Todd said 10 people returned complete applications and they will begin conducting interviews within the next couple weeks.

In other board action President Michael Davis made a resolution to recognize and thank the volunteers who support the school. The resolution passed with the unanimous support of the board.

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