By Matthew Saari

The Granville Central School District may have to cut staff because of state budgetary shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Granville school superintendent Tom McGurl said Tuesday that the district’s state aid for the 2020-2021 school year may be cut by as much as 20% – the equivalent of $2.5 million. Combined with budgetary increases over the prior year, McGurl said the district may be faced with a $3.6 million gap in funding.

Granville superintendent Tom McGurl

“We could be looking at a 20% cut in our aid,” he said.

However, McGurl emphasized, nothing has been cast in stone yet because the exact figures have not been released by the state.

“Mum’s the word coming out of Albany,” he said.

The reason for the announcement, McGurl said, is that contract language between the district and its teachers dictates any potential staffing cuts have to be broadcast beforehand. To this end, district administrators notified staff Monday and an official letter was sent out on Tuesday.

“It’s completely precautionary because we don’t have any numbers,” McGurl said, adding that a clearer picture should be in place by mid-May.

“Those dates always seem to change,” said McGurl. “I can’t imagine it will be much later than that.”

In a bid to save jobs, McGurl said the district has already put other fiscal cuts into play including ceasing any equipment purchases for next year and canceling all professional development conferences.

“We’re looking at all those before we get to the job area,” he said.

In addition, McGurl said, he has put forth as an option, across the board pay freezes. This is still pending approval of the administrator, support staff and teacher unions.

In a worst-case scenario, the district’s academic curriculum may be impacted.

“We want to minimize that,” he said.

The prospect of cuts comes in the wake of the state’s first quarterly “look-back” period – conducted on April 30 – at which time state legislators examined the state budget and if finding financial shortfalls, cut aid to public schools.

The next look-back sessions will be held on June 30 and Dec. 31.

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