Broadalbin-Perth budget plan would cut teachers, raise taxes

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District may cut five to 10 teaching positions to help close a $

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District may cut five to 10 teaching positions to help close a $2.8 million funding gap for its 2010-11 school budget.

The district’s “roll-over budget,” a spending plan with all the 2009-10 school year’s staff and services in place without any cuts, would be $30.6 million.

But Gov. David Paterson’s proposed state budget would cut Broadalbin-Perth’s state aid by $1.4 million, about 11.32 percent, and if that is adopted by the state Legislature, the district would need to raise the property tax levy by 43 percent just to maintain the staff and programs it currently has.

Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson did not return repeated phone calls for comment over a period of several days. In a news release on the district’s Web site, he described the fiscal predicament and said even though he’s asked for public input on what to cut, most residents attending budget forums have not provided suggestions.

“Most people are telling us that they don’t want us to cut anything — programs, services, teachers,” Tomlinson said. “And of course no one wants to see their taxes go up. Unfortunately, we can’t have things both ways.”

Last May, district residents rejected a $28 million budget that called for a projected 13.7 percent tax levy increase. In the June re-vote, a $27.9 million 2009-10 budget passed 691-562.

District officials are now proposing a $27.8 million spending plan that would cut teachers and increase the property tax levy by 8 percent.

Marco Zumbolo, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, estimates the district will have about $500,000 in unspent tax revenues at end of June. Members of Broadalbin’s school board have indicated they will likely use some of the money to help reduce the property tax levy increase.

District officials said two thirds of the district’s budget covers teachers’ salaries and benefits. Health insurance benefits are projected to rise by $329,000.

Some savings could be achieved by teacher retirements. According to the district, 26 staff members are eligible to retire; however, only five have indicated they intend to.

The school board is also considering cuts to other areas of the budget, including non-mandated programs such as college-level courses, athletics, expanded art and music programs, field trips and extracurricular activities. But district officials said even eliminating all of those programs won’t fill the budget gap without layoffs.

The district will send out layoff notices by April 1.

Categories: Schenectady County

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