Saratoga County

Dozens face job cuts in Shen budget

The Shenendehowa Central School District Board of Education finished work on a $147.7 million 201


The Shenendehowa Central School District Board of Education finished work on a $147.7 million 2010-11 budget on Tuesday that is $323,732, or 0.22 percent, larger than the current budget.

The new, “flat line” budget preserves the district’s educational programs but cuts staff, including four administrators, 26 teachers, 16 support personnel and between two and four coaching positions.

Most of the staff reductions are being accomplished through retirements and leaving positions open, but as many as a dozen non-tenured, temporary teachers and other support staff could be laid off, according to district officials.

The amount to be raised through local property taxes is 3.1 percent greater than this year’s tax levy. Tax rate increases for the various municipalities in the district have not been projected.

But a great deal of uncertainty remains on how much state aid the district will receive in the 2010-11 school year, said Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson at Tuesday’s school board meeting. If the governor’s proposal to reduce the district’s state aid by nearly $5 million is adopted into a new state budget, the tax levy will increase by 3.1 percent, Robinson said. If the district receives more state aid than expected, the levy increase will be less.

“This has been a very difficult budget process,” said board President Janet Grey. “But we were still able to come up with a spending plan with less than one-quarter percent increase,” she said.

Grey said the proposed budget, which the school board is expected to adopt as a final budget April 13, protects programs, but is close to bare bones.

Grey said the school district is at the mercy of a larger system that appears to be in shambles, referring to state government and the state’s $9.2 billion budget deficit.

Robinson said that a variety of factors have worked against the district over the past two years. Growth in Clifton Park and Halfmoon has slowed during the recession, meaning the district’s tax base has not grown as fast as it did in earlier years.

Robinson said the district made more than $4 million in budget cuts and reductions to bring the proposed 2010-11 budget to almost the same level as this year’s. School fiscal years begin July 1.

This year’s district budget was also less than 1 percent greater than the district’s 2008-09 budget.

District residents will vote on the new budget May 18. A public hearing will be held on the budget May 4.

Voters will also vote on a $1.12 million proposition to replace 15 buses.

Three seats on the school board will also be decided on May 18. Board members Richard Mincher and Gary DiLallo are seeking new terms, but board vice president Sharon Bowles is not. People interested in running for the school board must file nominating petitions by 4 p.m. April 16.

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