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Sun., Oct. 26
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Potsdam Central presents draft budget, gap still sits at $328,000

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POTSDAM - Superintendent Patrick H. Brady and Business Manager Laura Hart presented a draft of the district’s $28.5 million plan budget to its finance committee Thursday night.

Mr. Brady said the district’s budget gap currently sits at $328,362.

That’s based on a budget with a tax levy increase of the district’s annual tax cap limit, which is projected to be 3.79 percent. The 3.79 percent tax levy increase will allow the district to generate $12,293,470 through property taxes. The 2013 school tax rate in the town of Potsdam was $22.74 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The district is also planning to use $2.25 million in fund balance and reserves on the revenue side of the budget.

At the close of business of last fiscal year, Ms. Hart said the district was left with a fund balance of $1.36 million. Ms. Hart said she’s projecting to have $798,844 remaining to add back to the fund balance, which when added to the $1 million that was allocated last year gives the district a projected fund balance of $3,165,083, just above the state’s 4 percent threshold.

Should the district allocate $2 million of that into the 2014-2015 budget, they would be left with a fund balance of $1,165,083.

As for reserves, Ms. Hart said the district was planning to allocate $225,000 from the debt service fund toward next year’s budget, leaving them with projected reserves of $2,7898,904 spread out across nine different accounts.

Mr. Brady said the district is currently in a situation similar to where they were at this time last year, both in terms of their progress on the budget and lobbying for additional state aid.

After meeting with Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell earlier this week, Mr. Brady said he’s learned the governor is currently proposing an additional $320 million in aid.

“She is trying to up that to $2 billion, by eliminating the gap elimination adjustment,” he said, adding Ms. Russell also told the district that advocacy will continue to be important.

Next week, he said area superintendents will be meeting with state senators Joseph A. Griffo and Patricia Ritchie.

“We need to focus our efforts on eliminating the GEA,” he said.

Both Mr. Brady and Ms. Hart said several numbers still need to be finalized.

“This is still a work in progress,” Ms. Hart said. “It’s still early this will change.”

Mr. Brady agreed, “We still have a couple of months before the board adopts it, so it’s still a work in progress.”

Giving the board and community a bit of good news though, Mr. Brady said he’s not expecting “significant staff reductions” as part of the 2014-2015 budget.

“The anticipation is, at least hopefully, we won’t be looking at significant staff reductions,” he said.

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