Lancaster central school district faces financial crisis for the 2012-13 school year

Published January 26, 2012 by jcrosland

(Adapted from The Buffalo News)

The Lancaster central school district expects an increase in state funding for 2012-13. However, said-aid is not enough to cover for the  lost $1.7 million loss federal stimulus grant, according to district officials.

State aid will rise by $536,523, or 2 percent, says the district. This, unfortunately, leaves the district with a $1.2 million shortfall that school officials are grappling with as they compose the 2012-13 budget.

“Great news? No. Good news, yes. Any increase, considering the last couple of years, is great,” said Jamie Philips, assistant superintendent of business and support services at Monday’s School Board meeting at John A. Sciole Elementary School.

Last week, the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo revealed a plan to boost school funding by approximately 4 percent. The reality is that most local districts will never see that much funding.

Lancaster expected to see an 8.6 percent increase in state aid, the second-highest increase in Erie or Niagara counties.

According to Philips, though, the state’s projection included a figure for reimbursement of district transportation expenses that the district will never receive.

For example, Lancaster was projected to receive $6.4 million in transportation aid. Only $5 million will be given to the district.

In the end, the definitive figure depends on how much the district spends. Furthermore, not all of the district’s spending is reimbursable.

The large picture: other school districts across the state face a 2 percent cap on increases in the property-tax levy. In order to exceed said-cap,  the levy must earn a 60 percent voter’s approval from residents.

Lancaster school officials commence sorting through the funding requests of various district departments next month.

“We have an awesome task in front of us,” said Superintendent Edward J. Myszka.


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