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Impossible to predict impact if deficit breaks $2 billion

There's no shortage of clichés when local school and city officials talk about the cloudy financial picture.

With Minnesota facing a deficit that could break the $2 billion mark when the March projections come in, school and city administrators are on "pins and needles," as they take a "wait and see" approach.

They would also like a crystal ball to determine how ugly it could get, but right now-nothing looks pretty. Any guess at state aid is a stab in the dark.

"Stay tuned," was about all New York Mills School Superintendent Todd Cameron said to the school board Feb. 22, using a few clichés himself as he attempted to paint an abstract picture of the financial situation.

Getting a handle on state unallotments, shifts and delays in school and municipal financial aid isn't likely to come into focus until June, said Cameron.

As it stands now, NY Mills may be looking at an impact of $300,000 to $500,000-but it's too early to tell whether those cuts will become a reality.

There are several bills moving through the legislature, calling for unallotments and shifts in payments to school districts, said Cameron. And the million dollar question is whether those will be shifts that will eventually-or never-be repaid, said Cameron.

"Stay tuned," said the superintendent to the board. But be assured, he added, these financial problems "aren't going away soon."