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March 29, 2011

 

Cincy school budget proposes deep cuts

Up to 21 positions may be eliminated to bridge $1.6 million gap; unions asked to forgo raises

By SCOTT CONROE
Staff Reporter
sconroe@cortlandstandard.net

CINCINNATUS — The Board of Education is working with a draft budget for 2011-12 that would need to close a $1.6 million gap by cutting programs and positions.
The board hopes to keep the tax levy increase to under 4 percent and use $745,000 in reserves. Even then, Superintendent of Schools Steve Hubbard said Monday, the district might need to cut up to 21 positions and cut educational and extra-curricular programs.
The district has 151 employees so the cuts would equal 13.9 percent of the positions.
“We want cuts that are evenly dispersed around the table,” Hubbard said, adding that the district has asked its three employee unions to concede promised pay raises and other benefits, which would translate into $192,000 in savings.
The teachers union’s contract expires on June 30. The administrative and CSEA units have contracts that end in 2012.
“I have asked them and I’m awaiting their decisions,” Hubbard said, saying only that the unions would not have pay raises or would keep raises below what their contracts’ promise.
Hubbard said he will not take a pay raise for himself.
The draft budget is $14,268,191, an increase of $515,890 or 3.8 percent over this year’s budget.
The tax levy, or amount to be raised by local property taxes, was $2.9 million each of the past two years.
Unless the state budget to be finalized this week restores some aid, Cincinnatus Central School is projected to lose $284,964 in state aid, $232,998 in what Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls “gap elimination adjustment,” $224,221 in federal stimulus money, and another $90,000 in federal stimulus money intended to reduce employee costs.
That totals $832,173, an overall loss of 6.8 percent.
Cincinnatus uses state aid for about 70 percent of its budget — one of the highest percentages among the state’s roughly 700 school districts, Hubbard said.
The district will use $187,664 in federal money given for job development, which could have been used this year.
Districts have the option of using the money next year. Homer and Cortland also have that money for next year.
Hubbard said the district has about $1.3 million in reserves built up the past few years, so $745,000 equals 55 percent of that.
“But what will we do in the years after next year?” he said.
This year’s budget is $13,752,301.
The board developed its current draft budget by trimming $34,880 in overall costs, $67,683 for a guidance counselor who retired, $83,204 in debt service and $228,116 in BOCES services including special education and alternative education.
Hubbard said the district would have fewer spots in the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES alternative junior high and high schools.
The district has lost 8.5 positions in the past two years.

 

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