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Saratoga County

Fonda Fultonville out of money

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Albany/HV: Fonda Fultonville out of money
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School districts across the state face making drastic cuts every spring when they do the budget, but less than three months into the year, one Montgomery County district is already calling in re-enforcements. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, Fonda-Fultonville has had to create a mid-year budget cut committee, simply because they're out of money.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.Y. -- "It just seems every time you think you're covered, there’s something else you got to add to it. It is a never ending battle," said Lyndsai Chesebro.

Fonda Fultonville is once again facing financial woes. After a routine audit last week, the district discovered the reserve fund they thought had $500,000 in it is actually empty.

School Board President Linda Wszolek said, "We're a self insured school, which can be good, but we had some extremely costly health issues come up.”

"Whether it's the fund balance issue, or the fact that the districts facing a $1.4 million budget gap in the next cycle, you really have the fiscal perfect storm here," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel.

Meaning just about anything could potentially end up on the chopping block.

Michel said, "We're looking at eliminating recess at the elementary school to swap around resources that way. We've talked about eliminating spring sports."

The news come as an extra blow to this community, who have held fundraiser after fundraiser, and the entire staff even froze their salaries.

Chesebro said, "It's very hard because you want as much as you can to be great for the kids and you're supposed to be there for the children. They're our future."

Officials say the tax cap and cuts in state aid are the problem. And if the government doesn't step in soon, Fonda Fultonville will just be one of many facing this dilemma.

"It's very unsettling because you get to the point where the funds are the funds are the funds and you can't do a lot about that," said Wszolek.

Michel said, "Unless the legislature and the governor give us the flexibility and give us the latitude for mandate relief to deal with this situation, it's only a matter of time before half to two-thirds of the districts are in the same boat."

Interim Superintendent Michel did present a plan to the governor's education commission a month ago asking for help, but he has yet to hear back.

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