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Granville school officials hope for more aid to avoid cuts

Granville school officials hope for more aid to avoid cuts

From the 2020-2021 school budget votes series
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GRANVILLE — Granville school officials hope to avoid any layoffs, but acknowledged that precaution reduction-in-force notices went out last week to staff.

Superintendent Thomas McGurl said at Monday’s Granville Board of Education meeting that the notices that were sent out last week were “totally precautionary in nature,” but there has been no budget information out of Albany. McGurl said he had heard that a “20% reduction in state aid was floated out there.” He said the state information may be coming on Friday, so that left a very tight window to determine Granville’s school budget for 2020-21.

The district’s basic Foundation Aid grant is staying flat at nearly $12.85 million.

The adopted state budget gives the state budget director to withheld aid if state revenues come in worse than expected at four designated checkpoints.

McGurl said in an email last week that he would have preferred to have a budget number to work with before having to give the notice.

“It pains me to cause my staff any undue anxiety. Our hope is always for the best, but we need to plan for the worst,” he said. “As soon as we have an actual number, we will be in a much better position to measure the precise impact on the district.”

The district has requested input from staff on savings ideas and is exploring options to minimize the impact of funding cuts on staff and educational programs, according to McGurl.

Districts have until May 21 to adopt their budget.

The June 9 vote will be conducted entirely through mail-in ballots.

The board discussed whether to use the county voter rolls to send ballots to all eligible voters in the school district, about 4,430 people in all, or to save costs by using the voting rolls for the last four school budget votes, about 700-800 voters. However, it would be advertised that anyone wanting a ballot could request one.

However, the school board was unanimous in going with the former option of using the full voter rolls. Board member Philip Berke argued that going with the latter option would certainly be challenged, as it would leave voters who did not receive a ballot disenfranchised and leave the school district open to accusations of voter suppression. Any eligible voter who did not receive a mail-in ballot would be able to pick up a ballot upon request.

Also, tenure was approved for teachers Jeanmarie Wilbur, Justin Nassivera and Larissa Hogue, and school psychologist Renee Forbes.

Post-Star reporter Michael Goot contributed to this story.

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Covering high school and minor-league sports in Section II since 1989. SUNY Plattsburgh grad. Colleen's lesser half. Three amazing young people call me Dad. Fan of Philadelphia Eagles, New York Rangers and Mets, and Syracuse Orange.

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