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Cuts Possible As Cortland Schools Deal With “Fiscal Stress”

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Michael Hoose, Cortland School Superintendent

Cortland Schools may have to cut teachers or programs, according to Superintendent Michael Hoose.

The district was named Wednesday as one of nine in our state considered to be under moderate fiscal stress by the State Comptroller’s office.

Superintendent Hoose says declining enrollment and the demise of Gap Elimination Adjustment funds from the state puts many districts the size of Cortland under fiscal stress.

“The GEA took over $7-million from Cortland, with no plans to repay the taxpayers,” said Hoose. “This caused us to draw down our reserves to the point of fiscal stress.”

Central New York is one of three regions with the highest percentage (15%) of stressed school districts.

“We’re continuing to cut costs where we can, and we’re at the point now where we may start losing teaching positions and program for students.”

“We’re trying to keep the cuts as far away from students as possible.” Cortland School Superintendent Michael Hoose

De Ruyter is the only other district in our area considered even Susceptible to Fiscal Stress by the Comptroller’s review.Homer and the other districts in Cortland County received no designation – they measure up okay under the Comptroller’s standards for year-end fund balances, borrowing and deficits.

Homer, Cincinnatus, McGraw, Marathon, Tully, Dryden, Groton and Moravia districts received no designation. They measure up under the Comptroller’s standards for a district’s year-end fund balance, short-term borrowing and patterns of operating deficits.

Districts in fiscal stress are more likely to have a high level of poverty and low graduation rates according to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Hoose added, “Increases in state aid have not kept pace with increases in health care and contractual costs such as retirement. Unless something changes in Albany we will continue to be susceptible to fiscal stress.”

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