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Potsdam Central School
Potsdam Central School

North Country parents await state school aid budget

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Many North Country parents, students, and school officials are anxiously awaiting agreement on the state budget. Canton Central held two public forums this month, to explain the district's $2.5 million budget shortfall, and hear where residents recommend cutbacks. The district is considering up to 40 job cuts.

Rachel Wallace is mother of two third-graders in the Potsdam Schools. She's worried that class sizes will get larger, and extra-curricular activities will be eliminated. Wallace says the drop in state school aid could have lasting impacts.

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Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

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"As my children get older, they’re not going to have opportunities like kids ahead of them had, or like I had. And I think that’s what a lot of us are worried about, that our kids are not going to have the same school experience that we had. And it’s going to be difficult down the line, if we continue to lose these things for college admissions and in life."

It’s looking like state lawmakers will transfer $200 million from a competitive grant program for schools, and possibly target it toward poor and rural districts.

The districts are still waiting to hear how much money it will actually mean for them. Wallace says it’s not nearly enough.

"Politically, it was probably an easy thing to do. Those of us who are living this, understand that 200 million, even if it’s distributed equitably, in schools systems like Canton or Potsdam, it’s only going to cover 10% of our gap. While it’s great, we have more work to do."
 
Agreement on the state budget is expected this week. Meanwhile, the Watertown Daily Times reports that some north country school districts are planning community forums to discuss possible mergers.

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