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Peekskill Schools Pin Hopes on Additional State Funds

District faces $2.7 million gap in 2012-13 budget while awaiting new aid figures.

Peekskill school officials are hoping that the new state budget will help them close a projected $2.7 million gap between expenditures and revenue in the district’s 2012-13 spending plan.

The state budget, adopted hours before the Board of Education met Tuesday night, contains $805 million in school aid statewide beyond what was originally proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January. A district-by-district breakdown of the additional money was not immediately available.

The new state budget covers the fiscal year beginning April 1. Peekskill’s 2012-13 school year begins July 1.

While awaiting new state numbers, Gregory Sullivan, assistant superintendent for business, updated the board on Peekskill’s projections, which show revenue (mostly from property taxes and state aid) of $73,695,367 and expenditures (topped by instruction and benefits) of $76,395,803, for a shortfall of $2,700,436. The projected expenditures comply with the 2 percent cap on the increase in the tax levy and assume no staff cuts. For additional information, please click here.

The district expects to tap its reserve funds to close the gap, although board President Joseph Urbanowicz cautioned against relying too much on those funds and depleting them. He said the district needed to develop a contingency plan, covering at least three years, to address future gaps.

The board has approved issuing up to $4.4 million in bonds to cover the cost of tax certiorari settlements. Bonding enables the district to spread the cost of settlements over several years but increases the debt burden, Sullivan said.

In a related matter, the board approved a request by Superintendent of Schools James Willis to waive his scheduled salary increase for 2012-13.

The board expects to adopt the 2012-13 budget at its April 17 meeting. District residents will vote on the budget May 15.

N.Gage April 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
It's absurd that Governor Cuomo justifies crippling the educational system of the highest poverty schools across the state by claiming to save tax payers money through a 2% tax cap, yet the State Legislature can vote to give themselves a raise. You want to take my vote away from my school budget, Mr. Cuomo? Then give me a vote on the way we fund state politics! It is time we put our money into educating children, and not enriching the 1%! VTO! (Vote Them Out)
Teleman April 03, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The reason for the tax cap is a good one- it is to get districts to cut out all of the unnecessary spending and concentrate on the basics- many districts have very high per-pupil spending and don't get results- the only thing that needs to be done further is for the state gov't to eliminate the unfunded mandates.

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