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General Brown’s deficit grows as reserves deplete

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DEXTER — Board of Education members are being encouraged by administration to reduce spending for the 2013-14 budget by $1.8 million, even if the district receives a fiscal stabilization award from the state.

The updated deficit number was given Monday during the General Brown Central School District board’s meeting.

District Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti, Sr. said what is not figured into the $1.8 million is any increase in the tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, and any potential fiscal stabilization funds. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earmarked $203 million in his 2013-14 budget for one-time financial relief to districts facing extraordinary increases in fixed costs, but fiscal stabilization funds are not guaranteed for any district.

“My advice would be to simply plan on cutting $1.8 million, and if you do get fiscal stabilization to make a reserve with that,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “That’s certainly your choice.”

Three years ago, the district had more than $1 million in unappropriated fund balance. It will have no money to work with in that reserve account for the 2013-14 budget, and a cash flow of just under $900,000.

Financial consultant Richard G. Timbs told the district in December that a consistent increase in expenses and decrease in revenues will mean the district could be broke by 2015.

Board members were presented with a few scenarios from building principals and other administrators as to how they could proceed with reducing other expenses, but Mr. Vigliotti requested that information be held privately until he has had a chance to speak with staff about the possibility of position or program changes. More information about that is expected to be presented at the March 25 board meeting at the junior-senior high school.

“One of the scenarios we’re trying to rely heavily on is subcontracting with BOCES,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “Not as many districts desire to share positions.”

Instead of paying for full-time positions, districts may coordinate with BOCES on sharing a position to help districts cut costs.

Mr. Vigliotti and recently appointed district Treasurer Lisa K. Smith said board members have many upcoming difficult decisions to make.

“These cuts will affect kids; we know that,” Mrs. Smith said.

Because the district faces even tougher fiscal times in years ahead, board members also have considered the possibility of a merger with another school district.

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