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Committee tackles Geneva School Budget

Facing challenging economic times, the Geneva City School District’s Budget Advisory Committee will meet tonight to start the process of crafting a budget for the 2011-2012 school year.Members of the committee will have to wrestle with a projected deficit of $4.2 million based on such factors as the loss of $720,000 in federal stimulus money, the anticipated loss of $500,000 in state aid, increased expenses of $1.7 million and a proposed tax levy cap increase of 2 percent.The Budget Advisory Committee has been in place for several years and many members of the committee are veterans of the process.”We will have to reduce the budget,” said Dr. Robert Young, superintendent. “We don’t expect an increase in state aid after the reduction this year.” The 36-member committee will meet six times through March 30. A public hearing will take place on April 6 and the school board will adopt the preliminary budget between April 12 and 22. There will be a budget hearing on May 9 and the budget notice will be mailed to eligible votes on May 10. The vote on the budget will take place May 17. The budget will go into effect on July 1, 2011.At the committee’s first meeting tonight, Dr. Young, explained, the focus will be on seeking comments from the committee members on the community’s satisfaction with the value they’re getting for their tax dollars. They also will be asked what sources of information they rely on to form their opinions.Dr. Young said the committee also will examine the effect of recent budget cuts on the educational programs. The school district has cut 83 positions in the last two years, Young said.As the school budget process advances, Young said, they will be closely watching action at the state level, especially the proposed tax cap legislation, which Young said would severely impact the district’s ability to maintain programs.Young said the advisory committee will also have data before it showing that the projected deficits for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 are even larger.The committee is composed of parents of current students, people who live in the community, Board of Education members and school district staffers. Parents include Nicole Askin, Kevin Ergil, Pat Grimaldi, Dan Howard, Melissa Nault, Amy Jackson Sellers, Cathy Thurston and Virginia Torruella.Community members are Edward Blackwell, Ken Camera, Joe Crisanti, Dave D’Amico, Lynn D’Amico, Peter D’Amico, Kelly Hart, Bob Meyer, Karen Simon, Roger Wallace and Edward WrightAll of the school board members are serving. They are Jessica Bailey, Josephine Guard, Eileen Halling, Stanton Tepfer, Ford Weiskittel, Mitchell Wilber and Erminia Wooster.Representing the district staff are Dave Gleason, assistant superintendent for business, Mary Hanlon, teacher; Steve Kruger, director of information technology and human resources; Joy Martin, teacher; Gene McNamara, director of pupil personnel services; Jonathan Porschet, teacher; William Rotenberg, Geneva High School principal; Lawrence Wright, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; Mark Yeckley, Civil Service Employees Association; and Dr. Young.

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