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What you need to know for 01/17/2017

Niskayuna school district shuffles administrators to cut costs

Niskayuna school district shuffles administrators to cut costs

Niskayuna school officials this week revealed more about the proposed administrative restructuring p

Niskayuna school officials this week revealed more about the proposed administrative restructuring plan that is expected to help close the district’s budget gap for 2014-2015.

The plan calls for the elimination of the district’s human resources administrator, director of social studies and the K-8 director of English Language Arts.

The director of transportation position would also be reduced to half time.

The result will be current administrators moved to new positions and other responsibilities redistributed, according to the plan on the district’s website.

The moves are based on retirements.

Board member Robert Winchester expressed concern at the board meeting earlier in the week whether the reduced administrative staff could handle all the responsibilities. He hopes to get those assurances at next week’s meeting.

In the end, though, Winchester on Friday said that if school officials believe it will work, he won’t oppose it.

“If the superintendent and the administrative cabinet recommends the structure, I’ll support it,” Winchester said.

The administrative restructuring plan is part of a three-pronged strategy put forward by Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio to close an estimated $1.6 million budget gap and keep the proposed budget within the tax cap.

The $77.3 million plan would include a 2.81 percent tax levy increase, well under the 4.52 percent cap anticipated for the district in 2014-2015. The proposed budget makes no cuts to student programs.

The budget plan came just over a month after parents packed school board meetings to oppose closure of an elementary school. Then, a larger $2.6 million budget gap was feared. But the board voted to keep all schools intact. Closure of a school would have saved the district about $415,000.

The administrative restructuring is expected to save $382,000 with the elimination of the equivalent of 31⁄2 administrative positions through retirements.

The district is expected to have enough surplus to safely use $786,000 toward the budget. Another $245,000 is expected to be saved through retirements. And another $224,000 in benefits savings is expected through the moves.

At the top of the administrative changes will be the promotion of Lauren Gemmill from Rosendale principal to assistant superintendent for instruction. Gemmill, the principal at Rosendale since 2008, is to replace the retiring Deborah Shea.

Gemmill was previously the K-5 academic administrator for English Language Arts at Shenendehowa Central School District.

Taking over Gemmill’s position at Rosendale would be Jean Winkler, the district’s current K-8 ELA director. She held that director position for six years.

Current 9-12 ELA director Eva Jones is to become the 9-12 humanities director, supervising English and social studies. Current social studies director Alfred Sive is retiring.

Human resources duties are to be assigned to district Treasurer Kim Scheuer as a civil service position. Current Human Resources Administrator Ronald Grastorf is retiring. Treasurer’s duties will be reassigned in the district office, with remaining duties handled by central office administrators and school principals.

The director of transportation reduction to half time is a result of the district outsourcing its bus drivers to First Student.

The next board meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Van Antwerp Middle School Auditorium.

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