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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

CPCS eyes $103,000 budget gap

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COLTON - With a project tax cap ceiling of 3.9 percent, Colton-Pierrepont Central School District Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash said his district is looking at a budget gap of roughly $103,000.

“Considering our projected revenues and anticipated expenses, we’re looking at a budget of $9.7 million,” Mr. Kardash said, adding that’s an increase of $400,000, or 4.2 percent, over their current year’s budget.

A $5,000 increase in state aid leaves the district facing a preliminary tax levy increase of 5.82 percent, something that Mr. Kardash said simply isn’t acceptable.

“I don’t think we’re in a position to exceed the tax cap, so we’ll have to review our budget and sharpen our pencils,” he said, adding a 3.9 percent tax levy increase would generate an additional $265,000 in revenue for the district.

Major increases facing the district include $136,000 in health insurance costs and $155,000 in retirement benefits.

Mr. Kardash said the district is expecting to save roughly $10,000 next year in administrative salaries as a result of paying a new administrator less than retiring Principal Randy Johnson.

Mr. Kardash also noted that this early in the budget process there are still many things that could change, including possibly receiving additional state aid that could eat into the district’s $103,000 gap.

Referring to a $203 million pool of money set aside for education funding, but not yet allocated, Mr. Kardash said, “None of us have any idea how that’s coming, but the money is out there.”

Another benefit to the district could be an unexpected retirement in a position that the district could get by without filling.

Two areas that could impact the district in a negative way, however, would be a decrease in funding from the state or sequestration going into effect.

Should the federal government fail to reach a fiscal cliff deal and sequestration goes into effect, Mr. Kardash said they could see a reduction in federal grants.

“I estimate that it would be around $15,000,” he said. “In the grand scheme of things it’s not earth shattering, but it is money that we would have to make up some place else.”

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