Voorheesville schools facing $440k budget gap

Proposed cuts 
forthcoming, two bus purchases eyed for referendum

— It remains to be seen how deeply $440,000 worth of cuts will affect the Voorheesville Central School District, as administrators consider how to stay within a tax cap of a 3.87 percent increase.

The district won’t be getting any respite from the state either, despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo increasing state aid to schools by 4.4 percent. Voorheesville is projected to see a 4 percent decrease in aid, a total aid package of $4.9 million. During the last three years the state’s gap elimination adjustment has reduced aid to the district by $2.87 million. Declining enrollment is another issue, with Voorheesville shedding 56 students during the last five years and facing another projected decline next school year.

The projections were offered at a Wednesday, March 6, meeting of the school board. If the district presented a budget at its tax cap, the 2013-14 budget would total $22.6 million, a $720,000 increase. Homeowners with a property assessed at $250,000 could expect taxes to increase by $194 in the Town of New Scotland (4.83 percent), $270 in Guilderland (5.75 percent) and around $350 in Berne homeowners.

Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder said most Berne homeowners fall below an assessment of $250,000, so the tax increase wouldn’t be as large.

“This year, in all the years I have been in the business (20 years), I have never such a more difficult with the budget,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Gregory Diefenbach said. “This is a budget that is fluid … the state hasn’t passed a budget yet so school districts are working again in the dark.”

Diefenbach started off by calling on district residents to contact local state legislators to explain how reduced state aid alongside the tax cap is hurting the district.

“We got to tell them that public education is in dire straits,” Diefenbach said.

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