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Springville-GI Board facing the tough decisions, going into budget planning

SPRINGVILLE — While the Springville–Griffith Institute Central School District’s claims audit report got a passing grade Tuesday, Oct. 22, it was announced, during the board of education meeting, that the board still faces some decisions for the upcoming year.

LouAnn Laurito-Bahgat, an auditor with Bahgat and Laurito-Bahgat, reported that the district is in “good financial health,” but, like most districts in the state will likely be forced to make budget cuts for the upcoming year.

Laurito-Bahgat said the district has some “healthy financial reserves,” but added that some of those reserves are earmarked exclusively for specific purposes, consequently binding the district’s hands in its pursuit for more funding solutions. In one instance, funds must be used to pay for post-employment liabilities and compensation, only. Laurito-Bahgat commended the board for anticipating possible financial challenges in that area and earmarking funds, for that purpose. She noted that some districts do not take that extra step.

“The 2 percent property cap is a killer, also,” she said, enumerating her examples of how the district will continue to feel a financial crunch. Combined with questions as to what the state and federal government will or will not do, regarding future funding, the district could be forced to make additional budget cuts.

For the first time in district history, the district lost money in its cafeteria. Board members said that the reason for this anomaly is unclear, but one influence may be the government mandate on what kinds of food can be served to students. Wanting a healthier menu, the government has begun promoting and encouraging more nutritious food items. As a result, more students are choosing to not purchase the food.

The high school cafeteria needs equipment upgrades, specifically two dishwashers that could cost as much as $50,000 each.

District Superintendent Paul Connelly said the board will have to make some “meaningful” decisions, although he added that he doesn’t expect these to happen for at least another 6 – 8 months. The budget is due to the state in April.

“We also need to look at our long-range needs,” Connelly said.

The board will begin discussing the budget at its next retreat, which is scheduled for November.

In other board news:
– The board approved a field trip request for students to travel to Cape Cod, Mass., from May 16 – 19.

– A field trip for students to travel to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on Nov. 8, for the 12th annual High School Mathematics Competition, was approved.

– The board approved the formation of a Bible club at the middle school for the 2012-13 school year.

– A number of outdated textbooks were approved for disposal.

– The board accepted the resignation of Doris Lohrey, a cleaner.

– The board abolished several civil service positions, including Teacher Aide Brenda Ditchey and Bus Aide Laura Horn.

– Following an executive session, the board ratified an agreement between the district and the Springville Faculty Association for the term of Sept. 1, 2010 – Aug. 31, 2015. Connelly was authorized to execute the agreement on behalf of the district.

The next S-GI Board of Education meeting will be held Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

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