ALBANY—School boards knew they were facing the possibility of budget cuts, along with everyone else, but an open letter from David Paterson removed any ambiguity.
"Whatever small ray of hope educators may have harbored for next year is gone," said David Albert, a spokesman for the New York State School Boards Association. "We all know now clearly that we are in store for cuts."
The question remains of how much. Paterson's missive did not offer any specifics; last week he tried to cut $836 million from districts in mid-year but was stymied when a special session of the legislature yielded no results. The outcome was interpreted as a victory for the teachers union, which lobbied hard against any cuts. If anything, the governor's message is saying that victory is short-lived.
It's possible he could dig deeper than that, holding growth to zero at a savings of billions. In the meantime, some area school districts have already started planning for cuts.