To make up for the deficit, Johns said closing WRE will save the district $1,596,480. Direct savings would come in the cut in staff positions such as one less principal or one less librarian with a total of $777,609. Indirect savings with excess personnel such as the amount of teachers per student would save $818,871.
The proposal also contains "a modest tax increase" of a total of 1 percent that will replenish the budget with $674,770 in property tax revenue. A 2.18 percent is comprised of $1 million in general obligations and $472,079 for the debt service increase, according to Johns' calculations.
Within the budget proposal, Johns had a total of 130 positions on his list to be eliminated for the 2010-11 school year. This number includes 47.4 teachers, 38.5 teaching assistants, 14.0 support staff, 3.0 administrators and managers, 12.6 of staff with project help and SPED related services, 6.0 transportation workers and 8.5 operations and maintenance personnel.
Johns explained that "85 percent of the district's budget is people." Having to cut more than 100 people is something the superintendent does not look forward to doing, but that it's a major factor that will affect the future of Liverpool schools.
The academy proposal
The mention of an academy program stirred up the crowd and caused BOE Vice President F. Joseph Unangst to remind the attendants to wait and ask questions during the appropriate time.
Many community members called out, "What is the academy going to be?"
Johns explained that he would like to see WRE transformed into a high school academy by the fall of 2010. With this plan, the elementary building capacity will be at 97 percent and teacher-student ratio at the high school level will be significantly lower, according to Johns.
The academy would provide a smaller environment and allow students to have more individual time with teachers, Johns said.