Athletes will have to do without modified sports next year after the Greater Amsterdam School District’s Board of Education voted to eliminate the program Wednesday.
The board was forced to cut about $200,000 from its proposed $55.4 million budget, which was rejected twice by voters, to fit a contingency budget — a level set by the state. The budget will increase spending by 4 percent and increase the districtwide tax levy by about 11 percent.
Contingency level is only $200,000 less than the district’s proposed budget was.
Superintendent Thomas Perillo and administrative directors met with school principals Wednesday to discuss what programs or positions could be eliminated while maintaining educational opportunities.
Perillo said the team settled on cutting modified sports and eliminating two custodians and one teacher’s aide position.
Board member James Walrath said Wednesday he supported cutting modified sports.
“The community can pick that up,” Walrath said about modified sports. “There is no reason the district has to pay for sports for middle school kids.”
Board of Education President Gina DeRossi said she hopes programs like Little Giants can expand to include middle school students.
“I hope the community will rally around it,” DeRossi said. “I do find it to be an important part, but the actual education portion is a large part as well.”
Custodians lobbied hard to get the budget passed, putting up posters, making phone calls to voters and manning polling stations handing out fliers. Four custodian positions were on the chopping block but the board eliminated only two Wednesday. The board was able to use about $38,000 in surplus money unused from last year’s budget to offset some of the cuts.
DeRossi said district officials will take another look at the budget to see if an additional $30,000 can be found from retirements and moving positions around, which could be used to hire back one custodian.
DeRossi said she wants to start planning for next year’s budget as soon as possible after learning from Business Manager Roger Seward that the fiscal situation next year might be worse than this year.