School Districts say no raise in state aid may not be a problem


(WKTV) - The 2009-2010 State Budget may not raise school aid, but districts aren't losing too much either.

The big concern for districts was the Deficit Reduction Assessment, a proposal that would have stripped $700 million statewide. That has since been cut from the budget, keeping it flat.

Utica Schools Superintendent James Willis feels this could be a big plus but is still waiting for more information from the state.

Willis says Utica stood to lose $3.9 million.

Whitesboro Superintendent David Langone's district of 3,800 students would have lost $1.7 million.

This may appear to be good news for districts which otherwise may have been forced to cut more staff and programs, but Willis isn't sold on it quite yet, Langone however is relieved.

"It looks promising, but I'm not going to take anything to bank until we have it in hand," Willis said.

"I don't know how we would have gone forward had that assessment stayed in place," Langone said.

Utica's proposed budget calls for cuts to several positions and programs, all of which could return depending on what happens with the final state budget.

Districts are also waiting to see what happens with federal stimulus dollars. Whitesboro and Utica say they haven't received those funds yet, and don't have a timetable at the moment.

The state budget is due Wednesday.

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