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No layoffs in the cards as Rome School Budget to go before voters

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Rome City School District finds itself in a unique and enviable position - they did not have to lay off a single person or cut any programs in order to balance their 2012-2013 school budget.

Superintendent Jeffrey Simons says it's due in part to several years of sound fiscal decisions put into action.

"We consolidated our schools, closed some buildings in 2008 and 2009," he said. "We've made some changes to the infrastructure of the district. We've shifted to a new health insurance plan four years ago. So some of these changes that we've made in the past five years have put us in a better financial position for the future."

Simons acknowledges that he also dipped into the school's fund balance to achieve the bliss of zero layoffs and program cuts. While he says he's mindful and a bit concerned about that, he says the move still leaves around $7-$8 million in the school's fund balance.

The district's two public hearings are complete and the school board has adopted the budget. All that remains is the public vote on Tuesday.

Perhaps offering voters more of a challenge than the budget itself are the school board elections. Due to an error on the district's part regarding published deadlines, the petitions of three of the five school board candidates have been rendered invalid.

One member has appealed that decision, and the district is waiting for an answer from the New York State Board of Education. However, the deadline to get names on the ballot is late Thursday.

If a decision in their favor doesn't come by then, the candidates will have to be write-ins.

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