Cazenovia schools to receive more state aid than expected

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Updated school aid estimates released in Albany this week would increase Cazenovia Central School District’s total state aid revenue by 6.97 percent over this year’s total, if approved by state lawmakers. That’s $327,210 – or 155 percent – more than was included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget, released Jan. 22.

The increase was part of an additional $1 billion in state aid approved by New York’s Senate early Wednesday morning. The proposed $141 billion state budget still needs to pass the Assembly and be signed by the governor. “We would like to express our gratitude to Sen. David Valesky and Assemblyman William Magee for their efforts in reducing Cazenovia’s Gap Elimination Adjustment,” Superintendent of Schools Robert Dubik said. Although the jump in state aid significantly reduces the budget gap Cazenovia faces in 2013-14, the additional funds alone will not close it. The district still must eliminate another $278,000 in expenses to balance its proposed 2013-14 budget of $26,362,662, according to Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong. Administrators and Board members will schedule an additional budget work session soon, to review the district’s options, Furlong and Dubik said. Cazenovia’s preliminary 2013-14 budget, which administrators presented during the March 18 Board of Education meeting, was based on $7,934,156 in overall state aid, an increase of $210,939 (or 2.73 percent) over 2012-13 aid. According to state budget documents released this week, however, the district’s estimated total aid is now $8,256,184. The revised figure represents a $538,149 increase over 2012-13 state aid. Included in the total increase is a restoration ($407,352) of the $1.51 million Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) the district has endured for four straight years now, and the rest of the aid increase comes in a variety of categories. Even with the GEA change, the district will sustain a $1.1 million loss in aid next year due to the continuation of the GEA in 2013-14. The state initiated the GEA four years ago to help eliminate the state’s large budget deficit, taking away aid for schools and putting the burden on local property taxpayers. The district has lost more than $4.43 million in education aid over that time due to the GEA, (a figure that would grow to $5.5 million under the updated state budget figures). The Board of Education is scheduled to adopt the proposed 2013-14 budget on April 22.

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