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‘Painful’ Choices Made In WCS Budget

Saying they must remain aware of the long-term impact of the pandemic’s changes to the economy, Waterville Board of Education members made reductions in the district’s 2020-21 budget draft.

In a three-hour and 20 minute meeting that included a one-hour executive session, board members and administrators met remotely in a meeting broadcast live on YouTube. At times up to 53 people were watching.

Waterville Superintendent Chuck Chafee and Business administrator Tracy Leone joined the board in a line-by-line review of major expenses; the two administrators offered ideas on ways to reduce spending for next year.

Because of soaring costs from the impact of the coronavirus, New York state will not be providing additional state aid next year to keep up with mandated increases. Another factor districts have to consider is that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was given the directive by state lawmakers to take back some school funding next year to help balance the state’s budget.

Waterville, already facing a difficult budget year with the prospect of asking voters to override the tax cap limit, faces a larger gap between expenses and revenues. That gap grew to $800,000, with spending needing to be cut near $350,000 to get within a range of using reserve funding and savings to cover the rest.

Despite that hole, board members discarded the plan to ask for voters to support a 4 percent tax increase with 60 percent of the vote. “We have to stay under the limit,’’ board member Russell Stewart said. “There’s too much…

The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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