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Hamburg schools waiting for state aid to finalize 2017-18 budget

The late state budget is hampering efforts to finalize revenues to support Hamburg Central School District 's proposed $68.17 million budget.

Superintendent Michael Cornell said the district is finding itself in some uncharted territory, with the late state budget after recent budgets have been adopted by April 1.

"We just have to wait and see what they do at the other end of the Thruway," he said.

During the district's budget presentation in February, administrators presented a $68.17 million budget, and said little has changed since then.

Nineteen staffers will be taking advantage of a retirement incentive, which is expected to save the district about $180,000.

All 19 will be replaced with new employees coming in at a lower pay step, said Barbara Sporyz, assistant superintendent of administrative services. The retiring workers include two maintenance mechanics, three custodians, two senior clerk typists, one clerk typist, two computer aides, eight teacher aides and one hall monitor, she said. The incentive was offered to school related personnel, which covers most employees except teachers.

There remains a budget gap of about $1 million, Sporyz told board members. But she said she does not anticipate staff cuts would be necessary to bridge the gap. She said if the final state aid figure is not more than the governor's proposal, there are other avenues available, including using a bit more fund balance to lower the tax rate.

"We'll get there," she said.

The district has a negative tax cap of just under -1 percent, and plans to stay within the cap. That means the district plans to collect nearly 1 percent less in taxes - or $333,714 less - than last year. The district would have to get 60 percent of voters to approve the budget May 16 if it did not stay under the tax cap.

The board plans to adopt the 2017-18 budget at its next meeting April 18.

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