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City School District Uses Surplus To Avoid Layoffs in Proposed Budget



PATERSON, NJ – The preliminary budget for Paterson Public Schools would not require any layoffs, program cuts, or tax increases, according to city education officials.

The proposed $490.8 million budget for the 2013-14 school year is about 4.1 percent larger than last year’s, according to data presented at Wednesday night’s Board of Education workshop meeting.

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Most of that increase will be covered by using a larger portion of the district’s surplus funds, a fiscal practice that officials said they would prefer to avoid.  The proposed budget would use $32.9 million in surplus funds, compared to $19.9 million in this year’s budget. That’s a 65.2 percent increase. “It’s not where we want to be,’’ said Business Administrator Richard Kilpatrick.

But with virtually no increase in state funding, the district had little choice but to dig deeper into its surplus, Kilpatrick said.

The problem looming for future years is that the district is gradually depleting its surplus and faces a fiscal cliff, officials said. “At some point, we can’t live like that,’’ Kilpatrick said.  Board member’s agreed with his assessment. “We’re at a crossroads,’’ said Commissioner Errol Kerr, chairman of the board’s finance committee.

State-appointed superintendent Donnie Evans said he did not expect any layoffs “unless there’s something we don’t know about or unless we make adjustments that will cause it to happen.’’

Kilpatrick gave the board a brief overview of the budget, which he said would be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Education on Thursday. In the coming weeks, the board and administration would hold another discussion on the budget that would go into more depth, officials said.

The public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for March 27 at 6:30 pm at the district’s offices at 90 Delaware Avenue. The full budget will be available for members of the public starting on March 22 at the district’s offices between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. The district is requiring people to make an appointment to view the budget by calling 973-321-0980.


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