Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is PCS headed the way of Canton Central?

Since Canton Central is on the cusp of insolvency, can Potsdam Central be far behind? Both school districts are approximately the same size with similar budgets. Both are designated as "average needs" districts. Both have two colleges/universities. Both towns have about the same population.

"More than 40 percent of NY school superintendents say they will be unable to balance their budgets within four years if obligations and income continue on the current path, and even more say they won't be able to beep up with student instruction and services mandates." See:

According to the New York State Education Department (NYSED), there are four options for districts facing insolvency.

  1. Takeover: NY State Education Department takeover of the school district
  2. Bailout: NYSED could give extra state aid in the current year to meet operational needs.
  3. Advance on Future State Aid: NYSED could advance the school district aid due to them from future years
  4. Deficit Financing: The school district could borrow money for on-going operational expenses.
NYS's billion dollar budget deficit will continue to be a challenge for school districts. While "Gov Cuomo this year increased the state's spending for its 700 school districts by 4% or $805 million after three years of funding cuts or flat funding." those cuts and flat funding have had an inordinate impact on rural schools like Potsdam. 

It was reported by PCSD officials that health insurance and workers' compensation insurance will be going up next year by approximately $500,000. The NYS Comptroller has told school districts that they will have to pay much more to fund the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) next year. In Potsdam and this could amount to a $337K increase. The ERS (Employee Retirement System) cost to the district will also increase.  Contractual raises will amount to another significant expenditure. It looks like increased spending for next year will be well over a million dollars.

Last night,  financial expert Dr. Rick Timbs, speaking at the BOCES in Canton, reported that most schools in this region will be unable to meet their financial obligations within four years.

It is time for hard decisions to be made and for the public to make its voice heard.


  1. Lay off more teachers. Cut everything except mandated education. No sports, no extra curricular activities, NONE. No teacher Aids. No fancy electronics. No Trips.

  2. Dave, If our politicians would relieve schools of costly mandates, school finances could be gotten inorder and the Draconian cuts you cite - which would severely hurt students - would not have to occur. Google the list of mandate on our schools. You will find pages and pages of mandates. Take a look at
    Thanks for your input.