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BH-BL retirement incentives have Monday deadline

BH-BL retirement incentives have Monday deadline

Eligible teachers and administrators in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District have until Mon

Eligible teachers and administrators in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District have until Monday to decide whether they will retire this year and claim a $10,000 incentive bonus.

District spokeswoman Christy Multer said at least 10 employees must agree to retire for the incentive to be activated.

The offer has been made as a cost-cutting measure for next year’s school budget, but it’s only part of a package of expected cuts, which could include the elimination of dozens of positions in the district.

“I don’t know exactly how many potential retirees there are,” she said. “The teachers and administrators must be at least 55 and eligible to retire under their contract.”

She said the employees must agree to retire by June 30, which is the end of the school year.

Superintendent of Schools James Schultz said the district stands to lose $1.6 million in state aid if the Legislature approves Gov. Paterson’s education aid proposals.

The loss of revenues and expected increases in costs will likely result in staffing and program cuts throughout the district, he said, adding there still will likely be a property tax increase.

A community forum on the budget process is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the high school library, 88 Lakehill Road.

The meeting will also be broadcast live on the district Web site, www.bhbl.org.

Sheryl Lauria, a parent in the school district, said she is very concerned about a proposal that could cut some interscholastic sports.

“I have a son who’s a junior who participates in football and lacrosse and two children who graduated but they both played team sports that helped them become the people they are today,” she said. “I believe the sports cost-cutting proposal on the table would have a destructive impact on our athletic programs as well as a devastating impact on our students.”

The proposal could cut several freshman- and modified-level teams.

Lauria said she has sent an e-mail to fellow parents urging them to attend the meeting Tuesday and to participate in the discussion of what should be cut from the budget.

In addition to the retirement incentive offered to teachers and administrators, Schultz has asked unions for cost-cutting concessions.

“This is not a normal year,” said Schultz. “Our residents — and indeed the entire state — are in more financial pain than we have seen in a long, long time.”

A year ago the Board of Education cut more than $1 million and the equivalent of 16.8 positions from the budget for the current school year.

Some of the jobs were full time while others were part time or reductions of hours.

Schultz said the staff and school board are looking at several scenarios for cutting costs throughout the district.

If the new budget paid for everything and everyone now at the district, the cost would be $54.9 million or 2.97 percent higher than the current budget of $53.3 million. That number presumes state aid at this year’s level. With the governor’s proposed state aid cut, property owners would be expected to pay nearly 7 percent more to balance the budget, Schultz said.

Schultz said he and the board are very anxious to hear what district residents have to say about the budget process. If there is to be no tax increase at all, he said, more than $2 million would have to be cut.

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