Updated 04/05/2012 10:37 PM
LaFayette approves school budget
Students, teachers and parents are breathing a sigh of relief in LaFayette, as the board of education adopts a budget with no position or program cuts. Just a few weeks ago, a number of staff reductions were on the table. But as our Katie Gibas reports, because of a last minute increase in state aid, LaFayette will be able to keep all their programs.
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LAFAYETTE, N.Y. -- It's been a rollercoaster ride for education officials in New York State this budget season.
"When you can't count on what the state has promised you or what has been given to us by the state by law, if you don't know if that's coming or not, ups and downs, yeah, of course," said Tom Scofield, a LaFayette Board of Education member.
Initially, Governor Cuomo announced an $805 million increase in state aid to schools. Then he took $250 million away for competitive grants. LaFayette, like many districts, ended up losing money compared to last year and started prepared for the worst.
"How are we going to support teachers to support kids with no money? With all the state mandates that are coming down, how do we expect teachers to do more with less money? It just seemed impossible," said Sarah Dadey, a LaFayette Board of Education member.
But then, the legislature restored additional funding to districts. And for LaFayette, the rollercoaster ride started its ascent. They ended up with an additional $186,000 in state aid, just enough to keep almost everything they'd planned on cutting.
"It meant that we were able to keep a full science program and a lot of the very important teacher’s aides that work with our kids," said Scofield.
Not only did they not have to cut positions, thanks to the increase in state aid, they're able to better support teachers.
"We wanted summer training for our teachers and staff because of all these mandates that are coming down and how the state testings are changing. The requirements are changing for math and English. We really wanted our teachers to have the support they needed, so we needed that money to support our teachers to support our kids," said Dadey.
LaFayette is still calling for a two percent tax increase and the use of $900,000 in reserve funds. But district officials know the situation could have been much worse.
The community will get a chance to voice their opinions on the budget at the public forum May 3rd.