Extra aid to save 4 jobs in Saratoga Springs schools
18 positions still cut in budget plan
SARATOGA SPRINGS The city school district plans to use additional, unexpected state aid to restore four positions planned for elimination in the 2012-13 budget, Superintendent Janice White said Thursday.
Despite this, the district will still cut 12 teaching positions and six support staff positions next school year — through attrition and not layoffs — to help balance the new budget.
The latest version of the proposed 2012-13 budget is $109.7 million, an increase of 1.14 percent from the current school year.
The new budget includes a 2.56 percent increase in the tax levy, to $72.6 million, meaning there will be a tax rate increase for the first time since the 2010-11 budget year.
Tax rates for the city of Saratoga Springs and parts of five towns in the enlarged city school district have not yet been projected for 2012-13. The current average tax rate in the district is $11.23 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
“There will be no layoffs,” White said, with all job eliminations done through retirements and resignations.
A total of 18 teachers have informed the district they will retire at the end of the school year. “We will eliminate 12 of those positions,” White said.
White said the district is not eliminating any educational or after-school programs. The district’s sports budget has been trimmed by $50,000 in the new budget, but all sports programs remain in place.
Enrollment in the district is expected to decline by about 100 students next school year. Current enrollment is about 6,700.
The Board of Education is expected to adopt the proposed budget at its meeting Tuesday at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School in Wilton. District residents will vote on the budget May 15.
“These are challenging times,” White said about developing her final budget as superintendent. White will retire at the end of June, and Michael Piccirillo, currently assistant superintendent for secondary education, will become the new superintendent.
“I’m most pleased about keeping our focus on programs for the children and being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers,” White said.
Over the past three school years, the district’s tax rate increased less than 1 percent. There was no tax rate increase in the current budget and no tax rate increase in the 2009-10 budget.
The district will use $5.3 million from its unreserved fund balance to reduce taxes in the 2012-13 budget. The district used $7.3 million in fund balance to keep taxes level in the current budget.
The district received $131,000 more in state aid in the new state budget than projected in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget.
The largest budget-to-budget increases have been payments the district must make into the state pension system, health insurance costs and general wage increases resulting from negotiated contracts.
In addition to the budget, district residents will also vote May 15 on a $865,805 bond proposition that will, if approved, pay for seven full-sized school buses, one 24-passenger bus and one Chevrolet Suburban. State aid will pay more than 45 percent of the total cost.
Residents will also vote to create a capital reserve fund to pay for future construction, renovations and reconstruction. The reserve fund will use existing, undesignated money as available.
Voters on May 15 will also fill three openings on the Board of Education. Nominating petitions for these three seats must be returned by April 25.