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Morristown superintendent will not propose any further staff or program cuts

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MORRISTOWN — Superintendent David J. Glover said at Tuesday’s Morristown Central School District Board of Education meeting that he “will not make a recommendation for a cut” in the school’s budget next year.

Instead, Mr. Glover said, the district should apply its fund balance until it runs dry while petitioning for increased aid from the state and looking for more efficient ways to educate children. He said state aid for the district is expected to decline by $4,000 for the 2013-14 school year, and the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the state budget could further reduce the school’s allotment.

But Mr. Glover said the district is at a point financially where it has cut everything it can, and will be able to survive for the next four to five years before it needs to look again at trimming staff or extracurricular activities.

Mr. Glover said Morristown has a fund balance of $3.25 million in appropriated and unappropriated accounts.

“We can maintain everything we have today for the next four or five years because we did the hard part upfront,” Mr. Glover said. “Now we can focus on our kids.”

“We’re not happy with the cuts we’ve made, but we can provide a basic education,” he said.

Mr. Glover is predicting that the district will be left with a fund balance of $114,159 by the end of the 2015-16 school year. The Board of Education, meanwhile, is looking for ways to better include the community in the ongoing discussion on the prospects of a regional high school.

Following the Dec. 12 community forum in which members of the public were encouraged to ask questions about regional high schools, mergers and tuition contracts, Vice President Darrell Merkel said it is important to ensure that information is widely disseminated as soon as possible.

Board member Mary Ann Bailey said she would like to see a similar forum run with the intention of encouraging students to voice their concerns.

The district, in partnership with the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and Heuvelton and Hermon-DeKalb central schools, has hired Philip Martin, Syracuse, to study the costs and benefits of a regional high school. The study is expected to be done by June 30.

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