April 21, 2011

Schodack Cuts Spending for Third Year in a Row

For the third year in a row, Schodack CSD has cut spending in its 2011-12 budget, a $20,125,047 budget that is $362,673 less than the current year.

State Aid Over Last Three Years 

However, due largely due to a 10 percent cut in state aid, the budget requires a 2.71 percent increase in the tax levy. For a $175,000 home, school taxes would increase approximately $100 for the year.

District residents can vote on the budget on Tuesday, May 17 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the high school gymnasium lobby. Voters will also elect three school board members.

The Board of Education adopted the budget at its April 14 budget.

After cutting the budget by nearly $900,000 over the last two years, the district looked closely at all areas of the budget to find further reductions due to a $761,126 cut in state aid for 2011-12.

To help identify areas for cuts, community members provided guidance about what they value in their schools during the nine public meetings the district held on the budget.

“From our dedicated members on the Community Budget Advisory Team to residents who came out to Board meetings, I want to thank everyone who helped us with this budget process,” said Superintendent Robert Horan. “Our community’s input was critical in developing this budget.”

The 2011-12 budget would eliminate 12.8 FTE (full-time equivalency) positions, including 8 teaching assistants (including three retirements), 4.2 FTE teachers (including one retirement) and 0.60 FTE non-instructional staff.

Teaching assistant support would be reallocated district-wide to provide classroom assistance where it is most needed. First and second grade would be reduced by a section, bringing all elementary classrooms to three sections. Class sizes would average 24 students.

Some programs such as Connections at the Middle School and Family and Consumer Science at the High School would be eliminated, with key program components integrated as much as possible into existing
courses. However, the Middle School will add a few course offerings to enhance student learning and reduce study halls.

The district also achieved cost savings through restructuring, from the K-5 music and arts programs which will require no loss of student contact time to maintenance and transportation staffing changes.

“We face significant financial challenges,” said Mr. Horan. “Our goal is to provide our students with the outstanding education our community expects while continually looking at new, cost efficient ways to provide those opportunities.”

A budget newsletter will be sent to home in early May.

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