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State says schools can cover cuts

Janet Duprey represents New York's 114th Assembly District.

"I think some of the cuts are going to be incredibly difficult," she said. "Because they are going to be large."

Duprey says the formula for school aid often makes districts like Tupper Lake look wealthier than they really are.

"Because of some of their assessments - the second homes - it appears to be a wealthy school," she said. "Those who are there, attending the district, don't reflect what some of the assessments reflect. It certainly should not be considered a high means school."

Seth McGowan is superintendent of the Tupper Lake Central School District. He says Cuomo is making assumption based on districts he's familiar with - districts where fund balance may, in fact, be plentiful.

"In larger school districts, perhaps the case is that state aid is not a major factor in their spending plan, and therefore they put it into reserves," he said. "Not in schools that I know of, of our size. He also makes the assumption that there are large reserves to begin with - that's certainly not the case."

McGowan says the entire state system for funding schools is dysfunctional. He adds that Cuomo's proposal to cap property taxes won't help that matter.

According to McGowan, state aid to schools should be based on income tax and sales tax within the district.

"Not only would property owners be participating in school funding - anyone in the entire community would be," he said. "In a community like ours, the school is central. People that don't own property certainly value the school as well."

Up to this point, state Senator Betty Little has been a vocal supporter of Cuomo's executive budget.

But she, like Assemblywoman Duprey, says cuts to school aid need to be handled in an "equitable" manner.

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