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Potsdam superintendent expecting additional aid once state budget finalized

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POTSDAM — Facing a budget gap of more than $300,000, Potsdam Central School Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said he’s expecting the district to receive some additional aid once the state budget is finalized.

How much aid, though, he’s not sure.

According to the district’s latest budget projections, which use $2 million in fund balance and $200,000 in reserves, the district is still facing a budget gap of $452,786.

Mr. Brady said that deficit also assumes the district adopts a budget that meets its tax cap threshold of 3.09 percent, the equivalent of a $337,000 tax levy increase.

Both state Sens. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, and Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, have said they are in favor of ending the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

“They are both in support of that, although trying to do that in one year is going to be very challenging,” Mr. Brady said, referring to the complete restoration of $1.9 billion in aid statewide.

Sen. John J. Flanagan, R-Smithtown, who chairs the state Senate Education Committee, told superintendents during a meeting last week in Albany that he had met recently with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for more than an hour with “two-thirds” of the conversation about education.

Mr. Flanagan told the superintendents that money currently for prekindergarten, competitive grants and other educational programs totaling $375 million may be added to the aid pool for schools, which when coupled with further reduction of the GEA could mean a significant amount of additional aid for schools.

“He said it would probably be over a billion,” Mr. Brady said.

Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan, D-Queens, told the superintendents the Assembly would like to see a better formula used to distribute aid.

“It’s a moving target right now at the state level,” Mr. Brady said, adding things may get a little clearer in the weeks ahead.

“We should start seeing some house budget bills coming out soon,” he said.

Mr. Brady also said he received no indications from anyone that the budget won’t be on time again this year, meaning final numbers should be received by April 1.

“We do expect there will be some additional funding, but how much remains the question,” he said.

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