Thanks to additional funding from New York State, the New Hartford School District now has a proposed balance budget. The district was facing an estimated $900 thousand budget gap stemming from a decrease in revenue. The lack in revenue is said to be coming from the Sangertown Square Mall coupled with a lack in foundation aid. New Hartford’s Superintendent Robert Nole explained what the difference in revenue coming from the mall made to the school budget.
"That assessment through a court order was lowered by 25%, and it is in place for the foreseeable future right now. It went from approximately $80 million to $60 million, and that’s what it’s set at so they may challenge it again, but it’s not going to drop precipitously like it did from $80 to $60 million."
State lawmakers were able to secure over $400 thousand in Foundation aid and an additional $300 thousand in a one-time special appropriation. Brian Miller, (R) 101 Assembly District stressed the budget gap is not a result of school spending.
"With revenue streams that were changed by assessments from the Mall and things like that. You know this wasn’t a spending problem, it was an issue with revenue streams coming in."
Joe Griffo, (R) 47th Senate District talked about how New Hartford will continue to benefit from the Foundation aid.
"That is important because that will continue to be recurring. So next year that money will not be taken away from New Hartford. That will be driven as part of the formula they will continue to receive. This new money that comes through the State aid that they receive."
3 elementary school teachers will be laid off throughout the district to make up for the much of the remaining gap, however we’re told the layoffs are a direct result from a decrease in enrollment. The budget now goes to a public hearing followed by a public vote scheduled for May 15th.