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Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hlkljgk/3002212217">Heather Katsoulis</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: Heather Katsoulis, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

North Country school budget votes today call for painful choices

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Communities across the state are voting on their school district budgets today. According to the New York State School Boards Association, about 96 percent of school districts are staying under the 2 percent tax cap. And they say that this year's budgets have fewer layoffs than in recent years.

But in Brasher Falls Central School District, balancing the budget has meant hard choices.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

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The district is asking voters to approve a budget that cuts 10 jobs-- seven of them teaching positions "that run the gamut from mathematics to art to music, business, half of a language teacher, also reductions in the cafeteria staff," Superintendent Steve Vigliotti said.

He says in a school with 85 teachers, 10 cuts will have a huge negative impact. And he says there just weren't other options.

"The grind, the financial grind of the last five years has really depleted reserves and really pitted the needs of students to be college- and career-ready against the needs of an already overtaxed tax base."

Canton Central School District has stayed below the tax cap and avoided layoffs this year by relying heavily on its fund balance -- basically the district's savings account.

Superintendent Bill Gregory says that's fine for this year. But the fund balance is dwindling, and if state funding structure doesn't change, the district can expect huge cuts.

"Essentially," said Gregory, "we are kind of mortgaging the future to maintain our education programming for this next school year."

Voting takes place today.

Tune in to NCPR tomorrow morning for a conversation about the results.

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