CHENANGO COUNTY – Local school leaders knew they would face tough decisions this year even before Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his executive budget proposal last week.
“We are far from finalizing a budget, but we clearly have identified a significant budget gap which cannot be addressed by tax levy increases and the use of reserves,” said Greene Superintendent Jonathan Retz.
Cuomo’s executive budget calls for $1.5 billion in aid cuts to schools across New York State as one of the measures necessary to eliminate the state’s $10 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes.
“Our state is at a crossroads. After years of overtaxing and overspending, we are at the fiscal brink. We can continue down our current road to financial ruin or we can take a new course – a road to recovery,” Cuomo said, of his proposal.
If the education cuts Cuomo has proposed make it through to the final state budget, Chenango County’s nine school districts stand to lose nearly $7.3 million in aid, based on numbers released Feb. 1.
For Greene, the governor’s plan translates to a $840,990 reduction in aid for 2011-2012, a 6.41 percent decrease from what the district is slated to receive in the current academic year.
Retz and his team are already hard at work looking at ways to cut costs.
“Like New York State, we need to review all areas of our business with a critical eye toward cost effectiveness,” the Greene administrator said.