Vestal school board talks job cuts
Many schools in the Southern Tier are facing big budget cuts, and Vestal is no different. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, the School Board presented the first draft of the 2013-14 school year budget on Tuesday, and they may have to make quite a few personnel cuts.
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VESTAL, N.Y. -- It’s a process that Vestal’s Superintendent says is never easy.
"It’s a very painful process, certainly I know personally, I attend sessions at the NYSET office where they’re bringing in personnel form the department of labor to help individuals that are losing their positions and I see their tears trickle down their cheeks, but it doesn’t get easier. But I don’t want it to be easy for me or for them to just be a name on a spreadsheet,” said Mark LaRoach, Vestal Superintendent.
The Vestal School District is looking to eliminate 17 elementary school level jobs, as well as two math-support jobs, since the district is facing a budget gap of almost $2 million.
"That’s a roll over budget, all other things remain in equal, so our challenge now and what we must do by law is have equality between our revenue base and expenses,” said LaRoach.
Board members say there are no proposed teaching cuts at the high school level, but they are looking at other options such as athletics, facilities and co-curricular activities. They’re also looking at sharing services with other districts, something they’re already doing.
"We have a Mandarin Chinese teacher, we don’t have enough students signed up for courses, U-E wanted a Mandarin Chinese teacher so half of her load is taught in U-E, we needed a French teacher and we have half of their French teacher. So those are the types of collaborative that were’ seeking,” said LaRoach.
But not everyone is on board with the idea of shared services, some say it could impact children’s learning.
"The larger the classroom the less students learn the larger the classroom the less time teachers have to cover the material and reach each in student,” said Tyrone King, Vestal Resident.
The board has until the March 26th meeting to finalize the budget before it’s voted on in April. The district’s property tax cap is 3.45 percent, which, if approved, will result in about $1.5 million in revenue from taxpayers.