Cato-Meridian Central School District
2851 Route 370
Cato, NY 13033
|2012 - 2013|
2012-2013 Budget Development Message
The 2012-2013 budget development process is nearing completion. Governor Cuomo’s executive budget includes an increase in funds committed to supporting education across the state. Unfortunately, the total money outside of the local tax levy that makes up the majority of a district’s operating budget will be significantly lower once again next year for most districts across the state, but particularly for Upstate districts.
While Cato-Meridian will receive approximately $112,000 in additional state aid next year, the district will lose $431,000 in federal jobs money that was a one-time only jobs saving initiative. In addition, our portion of the Governor’s gap elimination adjustment (GEA) is $1,700,000. The simplest way to think about the GEA is to say that the state has a large budget gap that needs to be eliminated, and the district’s share of closing that gap is almost two million dollars which requires a downward adjustment in our overall state aid. In short, with regards to total government revenues for education, we are still in a phase where one hand gives while the other hand takes away.
Since 2008, the percentage of the district’s operating budget that comes from state aid has gone from 74% to about 64.5% projected for next year. The fact that our community does not have the capacity to backfill such a large decrease in state aid dollars with proportionate increases in the local tax levy means that the budget has had to shrink on a year- to-year basis in order to close the district’s operating shortfall.
While the district has had to adjust to the new metrics of downward aid percentages and other revenue streams in the development of our annual budgets, we are still able for now to absorb necessary contractions in our staffing levels without that resulting in a large impact on our student program offerings. Due to internal restructuring of our professional staff, we continue to retain low to average class sizes across all grades levels. Additionally, we are still providing a wide range of elective course offerings in the high school, including courses that carry college credit.
The district’s long range budgetary goal is to address the economic challenges before us in a fiscally conservative way that still preserves the educational opportunities our students need in order to be properly prepared for college and the work place. We believe the 2012-2013 budget currently being developed will succeed in achieving this goal for next year while providing a sound foundation from which to tackle the challenges that will surely come in future years if the state’s economy remains sluggish.
For more information pertaining to the development of next year’s school budget, please see the Governor’s Proposed Budget Impact Summary for Cato-Meridian and the 2012-2013 Budget Development power point presentation. This information can be found on the district’s web site.