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Brady expecting additional aid for PCS, not sure how much

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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 said he’s not sure.

According to the district’s latest budget projections, which utilize $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 senators Joseph A. Griffo and Patricia A. Ritchie have said they are in favor of eliminating 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 state wide.

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

Mr. Flanagan told the superintendents that money currently allocated for pre-kindergarten, competitive grants and other education programs totaling $375 million may be added to the aid pool for schools, which when coupled with further reduction of the gap elimination adjustment could mean a significant amount of additional aid for schools.

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

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan 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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