Most School Districts Fare Better Under Cuomo Plan

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At first look, Governor Cuomo's newly released budget contains mostly good news for schools in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

School aid information shows aid going up year to year in all school districts in all three counties, except in the Copenhagen, Clifton-Fine and Colton-Pierrepont school districts.

That's consistent with Cuomo's announcement that aid is going up by an average of a little less than four and a half percent.

The biggest increases in St. Lawrence County were in Brasher Falls, at $902,000; Canton, at $874,000; and Massena, at $1 million.

In Jefferson County, the biggest increases were in Indian River at $2.8 million; Watertown at $1 million and Carthage at $1.5 million.

Clifton-Fine appears to lose $59,000 in aid, and Colton-Pierrepont, $24,000. Copenhagen loses $181,000.

(The losses exclude building aid. In general, when building aid is included, the losses get bigger.)

Joseph Kardash, superintendent of Colton-Pierrepont, said in an email "We will have to sharpen
our pencils and try  to find other savings where we can."

When building aid, a specific category of state aid, is figured in, Colton-Pierrepont's loss is $84,000.

"It is early in the budget process and we don't really know our costs for BOCES or energy yet.  We also haven't tried to estimate the tax cap yet. There are still too many variables to paint an accurate picture yet, but this news was less helpful than expected," Kardash wrote.

He estimates the district faces about $475,000 in increases for a variety of reasons, ranging from salaries to health insurance to retirement accounts.

 

 

Friday, November 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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