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Shen may have to cut 46 positions

Shen may have to cut 46 positions

Shenendehowa Central School District officials say that they may have to cut 46 positions in next ye

Shenendehowa Central School District officials say that they may have to cut 46 positions in next year’s budget because of state cuts.

“We have notified several people that their jobs may potentially be impacted by the new budget,” Superintendent of Schools Oliver Robinson said Tuesday. “We have not finalized what positions will be cut because there could be retirements or other openings that could offset the number of cuts that will be made.”

Robinson said the district cannot afford to continue business as usual.

Among jobs that might be eliminated are two to three administrative positions and the equivalent of 19.1 full-time teacher positions as well as some clerical staff, teachers’ aides, monitors and cleaning staff.

Robinson said administration and teacher retirement incentive packages offered this year were not as successful as he had hoped.

“The deadline has passed because we needed a sense of the potential openings that would be created,” he said.

He said that staffing and other cuts proposed so far represent a reduction in the budget of $4.4 million in the 2009-10 spending plan.

Robinson said that the district is anticipating that it will grow by between 80 to 120 new students next year because of the poor economy. He said that as families who now send their children to private or parochial schools deal with growing financial pressures, they may end up sending their children to the Shenendehowa schools instead.

“We have a fine program here, and we are already seeing a transition of students as families make the decision that they can cut tuition from their budgets,” he said.

In addition to more students attending Shen, which increases costs, Robinson said the tax base is not growing as fast as it has in the past.

“A significant portion of our tax base is commercial, which has buffered residential tax impacts,” he said. “We’re still seeing some commercial growth, but it’s not as large as in the past.”

He said the district is seeing more businesses challenging their assessments and their taxes as the recession causes profits to shrink.

The school board is looking to cut $6.7 million in spending over the next 18 months and has listed details of the planned reductions on its Web site — www.shenet.org.

Reducing energy use and the number of newsletters sent each year are among the ideas expected to save tens of thousands of dollars.

Stretching out debt repayment could save $1.2 million for the district in the short term.

Robinson said the school board hopes for relief from the federal stimulus package to New York, but because no definite word has come about how much money Shen may receive, the district is working on a budget to cover the worst-case scenario.

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