Chenango schools could lose another $600,000 if Paterson has his way

CHENANGO COUNTY – As if the fiscal outlook for New York schools wasn’t bleak enough already, school leaders learned last week they could still face mid-year cuts to state education aid under the governor’s latest proposal.

Governor David Paterson’s plan would freeze categorical aid in the current academic year to the estimates included with the budget proposal he released on Jan. 19. According to numbers released by the New York State Education Department, the proposal would bleed more than $51.3 million in aid from New York’s schools, including $599,787 from Chenango County’s nine districts.

“This is another shot at education that does not help us,” said Norwich Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan, whose district could lose $93,991, mostly in building aid and BOCES, based on the governor’s proposal.

According to O’Sullivan, schools are already “bleeding” from cuts necessitated by anticipated aid reductions and rising benefits costs.

“This is getting insane,” he said.

Norwich would need to tap further into its reserves to offset any additional reductions on top of what they already had planned, he explained. “This should emphasize to all that the state will not be helping us any time soon, and we need to begin preparing for an even worse year next year.”

Despite being Chenango County’s largest district, Norwich isn’t facing the largest cuts locally. That distinction falls to the Greene Central School District, which stands to lose $212,871 in BOCES and transportation aid.

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