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Scotia-Glenville officials face steep staff cut in school budget

Scotia-Glenville officials face steep staff cut in school budget

The Scotia-Glenville Central School District may lose the equivalent of as many as 40 full-time posi

The Scotia-Glenville Central School District may lose the equivalent of as many as 40 full-time positions as officials look to cut $2.3 million from its 2012-13 budget.

The proposed $47.6 million spending plan would cut 15 teachers, two elementary librarians, a guidance counselor, 15 part-time teaching assistants, a full-time teaching assistant and a nurse and reduce hours for social workers, a psychologist and a speech teacher. Also being eliminated are five aides and monitors, two cleaners, summer school, driver’s education, field trips, late bus runs and the BOCES Young Scholars program.

The district would also cut two administrative positions. However, Superintendent Susan Swartz said she has not determined how administration will be reconfigured at the schools. There are currently open middle school and high school principal posts.

Even after these reductions, Swartz said the district will be able to offer elective courses and other programs. Some courses will be cut because of low enrollment, such as Advanced Placement Java computer programming, statistics and physics.

“Right now, we have achieved our initial goal, which was to make the reductions to get to the 2.93 percent tax levy cap,” she said.

Swartz said she has tried to preserve nonmandated programs as much as possible.

“Although we have to offer certain mandated items, we don’t want to lose sight of all the extra things kids have the opportunity to do here,” she said.

Swartz also said she has approached the district’s unions about potential concessions.

Business Manager Andrew Giaquinto said maintaining current programs and services would cost the district an additional $2.9 million and require a 12 percent tax increase, which was clearly unacceptable.

Among the cost increases are about $500,000 for teacher step increases, about $300,000 in increased premiums for health and dental insurance and $861,000 more for debt service on the district’s recent capital project. In addition, the district’s state aid has been reduced and federal stimulus funds and other revenue sources have dried up.

All of this is squeezing the district’s budget.

“This is the worst experience I’ve every gone through, and I’ve gone through layoffs and consolidations in corporate America,” Swartz said.

Glenville resident Lionel Bulford said he worried about hurting the quality of the district, adding it would drive people to private schools.

“You’re getting to a point where you keep losing teachers, losing programs. What’s the sense of staying in the school district?” he said.

He added reducing these opportunities hurts older students who are trying to put together impressive transcripts for college.

Another community budget forum will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in the Scotia-Glenville Middle School cafeteria.

The Board of Education will continue reviewing the budget Monday and hopes to adopt it April 2.

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