With more than 40 Ogdensburg City School District employees lost to cuts or attrition over the past five years and a dwindling fund balance, Board of Education members say they worry about the districts financial future.
We really dont know where were headed, said school board President Frederick P. Bean.
This years $33.7 million budget spent $2.3 million from the schools fund balance more than 50 percent of the districts total reserves.
Michael J. Tooley, school board vice president, said the districts reserve will be difficult to replenish.
With the tax cap and inflationary limits on state aid, its not likely we will grow it anytime soon, he said.
Slightly more than $2 million remains in reserve, most of which is designated for certain programs.
Well have to wait and see what this year brings in terms of revenue and expense, Mr. Tooley said.
He said the district can expect only a $1 million revenue increase in state aid and taxes.
When we go to prepare the 2013-2014 budget, we wont be able to allocate another $2.3 million, he said.
The fact of the matter is, the Ogdensburg School district is a poor school district, Mr. Bean said.
Tough decisions likely are ahead, Mr. Tooley said.
Were not at the end of the road, Mr. Tooley said, but we are rapidly closing to the end of the road. He said the idea of regional high schools and district mergers will probably have to be discussed.
Mr. Bean, who served on the board in the 1990s before taking a brief hiatus, said those ideas were being talked about a decade ago. But now people are talking about them with more urgency.
I think we are getting closer to something like that, he said, singling out mergers as a likely scenario.
In the meantime, the school has teacher contracts to negotiate and a 2013-14 budget to begin drafting.
Its going to look worse than it is this past year, said Mr. Bean. Were going to end up spending a good portion of what we have left in the fund balance next year.
And once its gone, its hard to get back.
Unless the state corrects their budget problem, Mr. Bean said, its not going to get better anytime soon.