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Pending merger, Glens Falls administrators readying two district budgets

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Albany/HV: Pending merger, Glens Falls administrators readying two district budgets
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Even in a normal year, budget season can be a challenge for local school districts. This year, administrators in Glens Falls are pulling double duty. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on how a potential merger with a neighboring district is affecting this year's budget process.

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – Like virtually every other school district administrator in the state, Glens Falls Superintendent Paul Jenkins will be busy this budget season.

"We're putting together kind of a ‘Budget A, Budget B’ scenario," Jenkins said Friday.

Unlike most of his counterparts, Jenkins and his staff are working on two budget proposals; one for the district the way it's currently configured and a second that accounts for a fourth elementary school.

In March, taxpayers in the Abraham Wing School District will vote on a merger with the Glens Falls City School District.

"That's kind of the way our business manager is looking at putting together the budget for the consolidated district, is back to having a fourth elementary school," Jenkins said.

Located in Glens Falls, the Abraham Wing School District is comprised of a single elementary school with 200 students.

Its current $3.7 million budget is roughly a tenth of the size of the Glens Falls $38.9 million budget.

One thing the two schools have in common, they'll both see slight drops in state aid next year.

"I don't think we're unique, that's what the other districts are facing and we're facing it right with them," said Abraham Wing superintendent John Godfrey, who also must draft his own budget, should voters reject the merger.

If voters support the merger, the new district would receive $2.5 million in extra state aid for the first five years.

Prior to last school year, Glens Falls had a fourth elementary school on Sanford Street but closed it because of declining enrollment.

Leaders from both schools will discuss the potential merger with the public at Crandall Public Library on February 6th.

"We would like residents from both districts, Abe Wing and Glens Falls City Schools, to attend if they can," Jenkins said.

“[We’re] again, trying to get as much correct information out to the residents to give them what they need to make an informed decision," said Godfrey, who would stay on as principal of the Abraham Wing Elementary School should the merger be approved.

In addition to the 7:00 p.m. February 6 meeting at Crandall Public Library, Abraham Wing is hosting a meeting of its own this Monday at 7:00 p.m. at the school.

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