Schalmont Central School District officials are optimistic that they can close their budget gap without teacher layoffs.
Superintendent Carol Pallas on Monday presented a rough draft of the 2013-2014 budget to the Board of Education.
Business Administrator Joe Lenz said he projects that the Schalmont Central School District will receive about $200,000 more in aid under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal. If all programs and staff were maintained, the existing $41.9 million budget would increase to about $43.2 million.
The district’s tax levy limit is a 2.8 percent increase, according to the state formula. Lenz said the board wants to get below a 2 percent increase. Factoring the new state aid and a 2 percent tax levy increase, the district’s budget would be $42.98 million, which would be about $184,000 more than its revenue.
Pallas said the district is looking at saving on personnel costs through attrition. Among the district employees set to retire at the end of the school year are a home economics teacher, foreign language teacher, school psychologist and chief information officer.
“If someone retires, we may not replace them or we may replace them at part time,” she said.
Noninstructional cuts include termination of one account clerk typist and reduced hours for a mechanic, library aide, monitor and transportation router.
These personnel reductions would save about $211,086 in salary and benefits. However, Pallas said the district needs to add a part-time speech teacher at a cost of $24,708 because of the high number of students with speech therapy needs.
The net savings of $186,000 closes the budget gap.
Pallas attributed the relatively painless cuts to the difficult decisions the district has made during the past few years. “It’s been the foresight and good financial planning on the part of the district,” she said.
The district cut 49 full-time equivalent positions during the last three budget years and closed Mariaville and Woestina elementary schools.
Pallas said the district is trying to preserve programs and keep costs reasonable.
“We try to strike that balance of maintain and sustaining what we do have and always keeping in mind the ability of the community to pay,” Pallas said.
The district will hold Budget Advisory Committee meetings Feb. 28 and March 12 at 6 p.m. in the Schalmont Middle School LGI room.