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Sun., Oct. 4
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South Jefferson weighs options for dealing with $110K budget shortfall


ADAMS — To overcome a $110,490 shortfall for its 2013-14 budget, administrators at the South Jefferson Central School District are considering pulling more money from its fund balance.

The district, already anticipating using about $1.5 million of its $2.6 million fund balance, could assign more funds to cover the difference. Other options being weighed are increasing the tax levy above its limit of 3.7 percent, though the district has said that is not recommended. The district’s funding situation also could change based on looming decisions on state aid.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Superintendent Jamie A. Moesel said.

A first draft of the district’s budget was distributed at its Board of Education meeting Monday night. The proposed $29,212,139 budget would be a 1.97 percent increase from the 2012-13 budget of $28,647,293.

Using the maximum 3.7 percent tax levy increase, the district could create $6,833,169 in tax revenue.

If only the tax levy were used to handle the $110,490 shortfall, the additional cost would push the levy increase to 5.4 percent.

Other possibilities, such as taking out $25,000 in building and grounds funding or reducing school programming, also were not recommended.

Currently, the only instructional cuts being considered are ending the foreign language programs at the seventh-grade level, to support more English and language arts instruction and tutoring.

The district is facing uncertainty in state aid levels in a couple of categories. Though the district is expecting the loss of $175,196 in building aid, it is hoping for $246,964 in additional transportation aid, fiscal stabilization aid and private excess costs aid.

Both Mrs. Moesel and district Business Administrator Joseph J. Eberle said that more answers about funding levels would come in about seven to 10 days.

It also was indicated at the meeting that some of the tax levy increase would be dedicated to enhanced security at school buildings, a proposal that Mrs. Moesel said had received positive feedback.

The district’s budget vote will include a measure to purchase four school buses. Mrs. Moesel said the district had fallen behind on its bus purchasing plan.

She also reported on asking Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, at a lunch earlier Monday about the possible impacts of federal budget cuts for area schools. She said Mr. Owens told her the impacts wouldn’t be clear until the next 45 to 90 days.

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