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August 21, 2014
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ECS district eyes more cuts; board and community to face tough decisions


“Because of the $2 million we returned on the levy, even if I put up a $15 million budget, that will exceed the 2% property tax cap. Under the way the tax cap legislation works, if our budget gets voted down, because we will need 60% of those voting to pass the budget, we have an opportunity to put it up one more time. We can put it up at the same [amounts], or differently. If we put it up at the same, it will still require the 60% to pass.”

“How are you going to make the decisions?” asked ECS board member Carol Bliefernich.

Dufour responded that the first goal is to have a teacher in every classroom. “We may not have support staff. That could mean a reduction in teaching assistants,” said Dufour. “We will have to ultimately look at everything—sports, extracurricular, driver’s education, our music program. I’m hoping by making these cuts we can convince the community that we’re doing the right thing; we are proper stewards of their money and we can get the support we need to pass the budget.”

Larry Thomas, BOCES district superintendent, spoke following Dufour’s presentation. “The message you’re getting is very accurate,” he said. “You’re wise as a board to try to think of some of these strategies now. We’re going to be facing some cuts at BOCES as well. We cut 17 positions last year.”

“Right now, our focus is to cut our expenses to the bone, to the absolute level that we can just exist and get by,” concluded Dufour. “In order to operate our program that our children are benefiting from, we need to keep the staff that we have in place. But there’s going to be hardship.”

Dufour invited the public to call or email with suggestions or questions at 845/456-1100, ext. 5296, or or email dufourr@eldred.k12.ny.us. The budget will continue to be discussed at upcoming board meetings; the next is scheduled for November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at George Ross Mackenzie Elementary School in Glen Spey.