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Potsdam School Board uses additional aid to restore cuts

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POTSDAM - Using the additional $397,447 it received in state aid from the budget adopted by the legislature combined with additional money from its reserves and some bullet aid, the Potsdam Central School District Board of Education restored several positions to its 2013-2014 budget proposal Tuesday night.

Superintendent Patrick H. Brady recommending using the increase to close the remaining $181,842 budget gap the district was facing, leaving them with $215,605 to restore items to the budget. He then suggested adding $130,000 from reserves to the $1.45 million they were already planning to use, giving them an additional $345,963 to use.

Mr. Brady’s recommendations were unanimously adopted by the board, with one member, James Hubbard not present for the finance committee meeting.

The superintendent’s recommendations included restoring a .5 social studies teacher, full-time science teacher, .5 English teacher, .3 foreign language teacher, .5 music teacher, full-time elementary teacher and restoring the district’s elementary summer school program for a total cost of $345,450.

Mr. Brady also announced that Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell has secured $100,000 in additional aid for the district, however, he cautioned against using that money for personnel.

“I would caution against using bullet aid, because this is generally one-time money, in the budget for positions and long-term needs,” he said,.

Despite the words of caution from Mr. Brady though, the board elected to use that money to restore additional positions to the budget.

“I’m very concerned about teachers going from full-time to half-time,” board of education President Christopher C. Cowen said.

Mr. Cowen made a motion to restore the remaining .2 portion of the foreign language cut at a cost of $15,881. The board voted unanimously to restore that position.

The board also voted unanimously on Wade A. Davis’s motion to add back the remaining .5 portion of the social studies cut at a cost of $27,305.

And while it was a position not originally cut from the budget, the board also voted to make a part-time reading teacher working in the district full-time after being informed there was a waiting list of 30 to 40 students who needed extra reading help.

Business Manager Laura Hart said that would cost the district roughly $40,000.

The board will continue work on its budget, which at this point totals just over $27 million and calls for a tax levy increase 3.99 percent, at its April 22 board meeting prior to adopting a proposal that night.

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