AVCS super: we can't do it the way the governor says we can

CLINTONVILLE - There's no way.

That's what AuSable Valley Central School District superintendent Paul Savage has to say about the governor's claim that schools in New York state can make up for the loss of state aid with fund balances.

"When you throw the employee retirement system and the teachers' retirement system into the loss of state aid, we are looking at a $2.5 million hole that we are trying to get out of," Savage said. "Our fund balance is only $400,000. The governor's lumping everyone together and we just do not fit into that scenario."

AVCS is looking at a decrease of $1,833,284 in state funding, a drop of over 13 percent. Savage said that the district had already used its portion of the federal stimulus money.

"We were really hit hard and right nor we are trying to figure out how we can meet the cut," Savage said, adding that he could not see how that could be attained without cutting staff and/or faculty.

"There will be positions in this budget that will have to be cut," Savage said. "There will be program and staff cuts and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. This is a very serious situation in our district."

Savage said that he has been meeting with the school principals, teachers, and other groups to figure out where cuts can be made.

"I just came out of a meeting and am getting ready for another," Savage said when the Valley News contacted him last week during the mid-winter break. "We need to grasp how deep we have to look and evaluate across the board to see how we can cut into this gap."

Savage said that he is hopeful to have a more firm picture of the budget when the school board meets March 16.

"We will have more information at that time," Savage said. "The next month is going to be critical."

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