JCS reduces proposed 2011-12 budget

JOHNSBURG- Mike Markwica, superintendent at Johnsburg Central School (JCS) was surprised when he saw the proposed amount of state aid cut from JCS for next year. JCS will see a 8.46 percent hit, which translates to $275,342, according the Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget.

Through extensive cuts, which totaled roughly $450,465, JCS has managed to reduce its budget by 2.04 percent this year. This year's initial proposed budget was $10.3 million - a $253,000 reduction from the previous year and through several board and community budget workshops, the 2011-2012 proposed budget was finalized at about $9.9 million - a 4.15 percent reduction from the initial proposal.

"We have had to make some tough decisions," said Markwica. "And I am afraid that we will have to continue to make tough decisions."

Despite cuts in state aid across the state, Markwica said rural schools have been hit significantly harder this year.

"In proportion to larger schools, we have taken a larger hit," he said. "It is devastating smaller schools, forcing them to make hard decisions and they are certainly getting hurt."

The JCS board of education introduced community budget workshops earlier this year in order to involve the surround community in the budget process. They were very successful, according to Markwica.

"The workshops made people aware of the needs of the school," he said. "It also helped us to evaluate where we could afford to make cuts."

As a final budget moves toward approval at the state level, local schools may receive some reinstatement of cuts made in Cuomo's proposal. Markwica, however, knows that such reinstatements will do little to help the decisions that have made.

"It won't be a lot," he said. "And may not be enough to reverse any of the cuts we have decided to make."

The JCS board of education will go to vote on the proposed budget Monday, April 11.

Proposed cuts:

- Elimination of non-mandated Home Ec. program - $100,000 cut from building reserve fun

- Reductions in supplies and sports uniforms

- Reduction in teacher and staff conferences

- Reduction in field trips

- Reduction in vocational education

- Elimination of buildings and grounds projects

- $143,000 savings from salary and insurance concessions

- Reductions in BOCESemployee benefits

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