Berlin school district faces budget gap of over $5 million

The Berlin Central School District is facing a budget gap of over $5 million and potential layoffs.

The district’s projected expenses for 2024-2025 is $28.4 million. However, total revenues are estimated at about $23 million.

Interim Superintendent Maureen Long said the district is looking at cutting nearly 16 teachers and administrators.

One of the issues is that Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed doing away with the “hold harmless” provision, which guarantees that a district receive no less in aid than they got in the current year.

School districts’ main state grant, Foundation Aid, is calculated using a formula that takes into account a district’s enrollment and property wealth. With the elimination of the provision, Berlin would lose nearly $1.2 million.

The good news is that both the Assembly and Senate have rejected Hochul’s plan to eliminate the hold harmless provision in their proposed budgets.

Long said the restoration of proposed cuts will help, but it will not completely address the deficit.

Among some of the other issues, according to a district presentation, is that the budget funds positions that were created with COVID relief money. That federal funding has run out.

The meeting will take place at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Berlin Middle School-High School cafeteria.