Penn Yan School District anticipates state aid hit

Gwen Chamberlain

Penn Yan Central School officials are planning for ways to make cuts to the proposed 2020-2021 budget to absorb the blow the district might take from cuts to state aid. 

During a video conference meeting April 22,  Assistant Superintendent for Business Cathy Milliman and Superintendent Howard Dennis outlined the budget proposals and items that could be reduced if necessary. Dennis says the recommendations don’t include staff lay-offs, and won’t hurt students.

Dennis said recent communication from state officials leads them to believe Penn Yan should be prepared to lose about $710,000 in aid from the budget, which includes total spending of $37.2 million.

The items that could be put on hold total $716,838, and include a Work Skills Ambassador, teacher aides, reductions in board of education and business office travel, legal services, custodial equipment, maintenance equipment, various district projects, overall inservice spending, technology hardware, athletics, uniforms, and overall garage items. 

The spending plan reflects a $960,672 or 2.65% increase in expenditures and a 1.98% tentative tax levy with a 1.99% tentative tax cap. 

The district will also be asking voters to approve the purchase of two 30-passenger busses, a 24-passenger wheelchair bus, and two 65-passenger busses for a total of $435,000. 

The budget will be voted on May 6. 

Dennis said there is no reason to believe that state aid will be reduced for the 2019-2020 (current) school year. He said the district is still owed about $6.5 million for this school year, and explained it’s normal to receive payments through April, May, and June.

One of the items that officials plan to pay for from this year’s budget is the new uniforms that will be worn by the combined Penn Yan Dundee football teams this fall, notes Dennis, who said work on that agreement continues.