Schenectady County

Mohonasen budget projects job cuts

Mohonasen’s proposed $43.6 million budget would eliminate 27 full-time positions, resulting in incre

Mohonasen’s proposed $43.6 million budget would eliminate 27 full-time positions, resulting in increased class sizes and decreased support services.

The proposal would eliminate 22 teachers including 12 classroom, reading, special and academic intervention positions in grades K-6. In grades seven through 12, there would be reductions in staff for core subjects, foreign language teaching positions and some electives.

Class sizes would increase by a couple students. Right now, they are in the range of 23 to 27 and after the cuts, they would range from 25 to 29, according to Superintendent Kathleen Spring.

The budget would also eliminate 5.5 jobs support staff jobs district wide and one administrator, which is a vacant assistant principal at Bradt Primary School.

The spending plan would increase the tax levy to the 2.3 percent cap, which would mean the budget would only require approval from a majority of voters.

Spring said the district is trying to trim along the edges of the budget to find savings where it can.

“We wanted to keep as much of the program in place as possible for our kids,” she said.

The district is preserving art and music at the elementary level, maintaining current nursing staffing and preserving extracurricular activities.

Athletics would be affected with the elimination of six coaching positions. All sports would be kept but some levels like freshman or modified would be eliminated, according to Spring. She said she does not know which levels would be cut but it would be likely freshmen or modified levels of indoor/outdoor track, boys and girls basketball, baseball and tennis. It depends on what the surrounding schools in the league do.

Spring also told the Board of Education that the district has applied for a state grant that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is handing out to high achieving schools. The district won’t find out until June or July if it will receive the funding, which will be up to $600,000 per year for three years.

In addition, the Mohonasen, Schalmont and Duanesburg school districts are applying for a separate state efficiency grant that would explore shared services such as consolidating business office functions, reorganizing administration all the way up to merger.

Denise Swezey, assistant superintendent for business, said the district is holding the line in operations and maintenance side of the budget. The district is currently in negotiations with its support staff so it anticipates a slight increase in salaries. She is actually projecting a slight decrease in heating costs because the district is using natural gas, which is a little bit more reasonably priced than some of the other commodities. She is also holding the electricity line item flat because the district was successful in negotiating down some of its fees. Mohonasen also hopes to see some savings from photo voltaic panels installed on the roof of the high school auditorium and a new blanket that will cover the pool. The district is consolidating some of its bus runs and reorganizing some of the positions at the bus garage to reduce salary slightly.

However, Swezey said the cost of gasoline and diesel is a concern. She revised the numbers upward to $240,000.

Mohonasen is also putting out a proposition to purchase two full-size 66 passenger buses and one 24-passenger bus. The cost is $290,000 and $213,440 of which will be picked up by state aid. There will be no impact on the budget since the payments will begin next year.

Other changes would be consolidation of bus runs, reduction of number of chaperones at school events, increase in music lesson group sizes.

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