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Colton-Pierrepont school looking at $310,000 budget gap

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COLTON — Through their second round of budget talks, Colton-Pierrepont Central School officials said, their overall spending plan has increased by approximately $500,000.

Colton-Pierrepont officials are working on a 2014-15 budget with appropriations of $10,340,000, up from $9,840,000 in the 2013-14 spending plan.

The budget also shows a revenue increase of $130,000 and total tax levy of $7,060,000.

“The major things are calculating our tax cap, and we are currently at 0.86 percent, which equals just over $60,000. That is big news,” Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash said. “If you add what we will get in aid, and what we get in taxes, we are still short $310,000.”

The budget breakdown for 2014-15 includes numerous factors that are anticipated to affect the final numbers.

They include an anticipated increase of $150,000 in special education needs, increased health care costs of about $160,000 and the reduction of a school psychologist, which will subtract $37,000.

Mr. Kardash said one of the board’s hopes is that state lawmakers will reach a budget deal that calls for the end of the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The GEA was enacted for the 2010-11 fiscal year in an effort to help close the state’s then-$10 million budget deficit. A portion of the funding shortfall was divided among all school districts in the state and reflected as a reduction in state aid.

The board is expected to have additional discussions on the budget at its next regular meeting March 19.

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