Superintendent Details Proposed School Budget Cuts

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez revealed specifics of more than $2 million in school budget cuts initially proposed on February 12.

Published March 7, 2013 9:19 PM
2 min read

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At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez revealed specifics of more than $2 million in school budget cuts initially proposed on February 12.

 

By Sarah Varney

 

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez revealed specifics of more than $2 million in school budget cuts initially proposed on February 12.

 

The $75.6 million budget for the 2013-14 school year includes use of the reserve fund to balance spending and limit the estimated tax levy to about $67.8 million.

 

The percentage increase for 2013-14 property tax levy has not yet been set, according to Kathleen Ryan, Assistant Superintendent for Business.

 

Elementary school cuts would total $650,220 with the reduction of two class sections based on projected lower enrollments and a reduction in staffing for physical education, art, and music. Three full-time aides would be cut.

 

Special Education would see the second largest cut at $613,820, with the focus on reduction of reading, speech, and psychology services. Dr. Mary Anne Evangelist, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, also alluded to plans to restructure the Response To Intervention criteria, which might result in fewer children being eligible for Special Education services.

 

Board of Education President Laura Slack wondered how the District would provide the same services with three fewer Special Education teachers, also facing cuts.

 

At Rye Middle School, art and music classes may be reduced based on lower enrollment, and class schedules will shift so that teacher assignments will increase. This change will result in the elimination of three positions. Middle School cuts total $457,020.

 

At Rye High, $439,660 in cuts will come from fewer teaching assistants at the Tutoring Center, reduced clerical staffing and the reduction or elimination of less popular electives.

 

The cuts will not happen easily, Slack said. “This is a very small community and I think the biggest issue will be personnel. People will feel upset for those who face job loss,” she said.

 

Salaries and benefits comprise 82 percent of expenses in the proposed 2013-14 school budget. District officials have said a major reason for the overall increase is the higher percentage of pension contributions for teachers required by the state. Last year’s budget absorbed an 11.8 percent rate for defined pay, while this year’s requirement is set at 16.25 percent. The rate increase translates to an increase of $1.5 million over last year. Ryan did not present the increased contribution rate for non-teaching staff.

 

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