UPDATED: Fonda-Fultonville school district forced to cut staff

The Fonda-Fultonville Board of Education will meet tonight to decide which jobs to cut following a f

The Fonda-Fultonville Board of Education will meet tonight to decide which jobs to cut following a failed effort to find savings in teacher salaries.

The district is working to cut about $180,000 out of a $24.69 million draft budget for the 2011-12 school year, and hopes that the cuts could be made with concessions were dashed, Superintendent James Hoffman said Monday.

The Fonda-Fultonville United Employees Association, consisting of support staff, agreed to discuss a partial wage freeze as did administrators and Hoffman.

The UEA agreed to accept a 1.2 percent raise for the next year instead of getting a 3 percent raise.

But the biggest segment out of 203 employees, the 113 teachers, rejected the same request in a vote by a 2–1 ratio, Hoffman said.

Despite losing $1.8 million in state education aid, savings were found in several areas, including a new deal on natural gas purchases.

Hoffman said he’s recommending the district apply $500,000 in surplus to help reduce the impact, but that will leave just less than $1 million, or 2 percent of the budget, for emergencies.

Hoffman said the district has cut 7 percent of its staff over the past five years, but all of those jobs were lost by not filling them once vacant.

This year, people will be losing their jobs.

“This year will be the first year. We’ve been working hard to keep things as tight as possible. We’re getting to the point where we can’t pinch anymore,” Hoffman said.

Earlier this year, to comply with their contracts, about two dozen teachers received notice their jobs could be cut.

Hoffman said cuts and savings since then will likely mean less than 10 people will be cut from the staff.

In some cases, Hoffman said he’s trying to find ways to keep staff but at reduced hours such as half days.

“At least they’ll have something. The part that scares me the most is if they lose their job, there’s nothing out there. Everybody’s laying off,” Hoffman said.

The Board of Education is expecting to adopt a budget proposal during its regular meeting on April 25.

Categories: Schenectady County

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