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AVCS officials looking to fill budget gaps

AuSable Valley Superintendent Paul Savage speaks during a school board meeting.

AuSable Valley Superintendent Paul Savage speaks during a school board meeting. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Even under the best of circumstances, the AuSable Valley Central School District will be looking at a deficit as it prepares the 2013-14 budget.

As a result, Superintendent Paul Savage presented three plans to the AVCS Board of Education during its March 20 meeting, with deficits ranging from $834,494 to $1,119,223.

However, those numbers may decrease when the state passes a budget, Savage said.

“We are going to have to find the money to close a gap no matter what,” Savage said. “It may be only $400,000 or $500,000 if we are lucky and we get some funding re-instated from the state. But that is a significant gap and we can't tell you much more because we do not have the final numbers from the state,” he said.

Savage said he was not going to start looking at cutting specific areas until he had the final numbers from the state.

“Our goal is to not be over-reactive,” he said. “We do not want to over-hype it and get people thinking that the sky is falling. That has always been our goal and that is how I operate.”

The district has a tax levy threshold cap of 5.96-percent, allowing it to raise up to $12,783,822 in property tax revenue, which would be a $719,060 increase from the $12,064,762 raised in 2012-13.

Under the cap, the district currently faces a deficit of $834,494 in revenue under a budget calling for $30,187,165 in spending.

Savage also presented proposals for a 4.6 and 3.6 percent tax levy increase, which would leave deficits of $998,575 and $1,119,223, respectively.

“We have no intention of exceeding a tax cap threshold,” Savage said. “I do not feel that we are in that situation and I would not recommend doing it. Do we like this, no. But it is a fact and we are going to deal with it. We have lost about 14 percent in aid and that is a financial hardship on any district.”

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