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Buffalo School District projects $162M deficit

"There are areas that we can squeeze," CFO says
Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 23:24:52-05

The Buffalo School District is poised to have a $162 million deficit by 2020.

The new projection comes months after the District settled a long-outstanding contract with the Buffalo Teachers’ Federation. 

In order to bring down the deficit, the District will tap into a reserve fund, which it has been paying into over the past several years in anticipation of union contract settlement. 

Between 2016-2019, the projected budget outlines $84.8 million from the reserve fund that would be used to tame the bloating deficit. 

Still, the Buffalo School District would need to find $37.2 million by 2020 to close the gap.

“There are areas that we can squeeze that we can provide the same level of service and even improve it without, hopefully, touching the classrooms,” Geoffrey Pritchard, Chief Financial Officer Buffalo School District, said.

Pritchard says they are looking at efficiencies in areas outside the classroom, including selling off vacant buildings, and cutting jobs in central office.

The District is also looking to re-negotiate with its top vendors, according to Pritchard.

“We’re really going to try to squeeze as much as we can out of vendor relationships.”

The School Board must approve the contract before it can move forward.