Rensselaer School District proposes cutting sports to bridge budget gap

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RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Rensselaer School District is looking to cut sports funding after voters rejected the district’s first proposal last month.

Superintendent Joseph Kardash said imposing a larger tax increase wasn’t possible due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s the wrong time to ask our public for that much money. It was a big ask and the public can’t afford that right now,” Kardash said.

Voters rejected a 19.5 percent tax hike back in mid-June. The new proposal shaves about half a million dollars off its budget.

“We can further cut teachers, but at a certain point how are we going to instruct the kids because we’ve already taken significant cuts there?” Kardash said.

The school district has been digging itself out of a budgetary hole for several years.

Cutting sports was a last resort. Kardash said they’ve asked the Johnston School District for help after the school district held a massive fundraising campaign to save its sports programs.

“We have some juniors and seniors that are very interested in advocating to keep their opportunities,” Kardash said. “They can go out and drum up those donations and hit up corporations and do fundraisers or do whatever they’re going to do to raise the money,” Kardash said.

The budget issues will be revisited once again next year. Fundraising for sports teams most likely will be off the table.

“We don’t foresee large aid increases anytime in the next few years. All of that comes back to a short-term emergency when the long-term plan can’t come to fruition,” Kardash said.

The budget goes for a public vote July 28.

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