Liverpool BOE focuses on budget cuts

Universal Pre-K, technology plan among suggestions

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education hosted another lengthy and crucial meeting from 7 to 10:35 p.m. Monday March 8, to discuss the 2010-11 budget. The budget workshop was held at the district office, a change from the last few meetings that were held in Liverpool High School Auditorium.

Breaking from its usual panel seating, the board sat in a roundtable with community members, faculty and staff seated around the new set-up.

During this budget workshop, the board discussed line items specified in Superintendent Richard Johns' draft proposal.

Because the district is in danger of a major decrease in sales tax revenue, as are local municipalities and the North Syracuse Central School District, Johns advised that the board keep in mind that there is more than $800,000 in current sales tax revenue the district may not see in 2010-11.

"I was figuring on 100 percent county sales tax at that time," Johns said of his Feb. 8 proposal. "Had I known what I know now," Johns continued to say that he "would be looking for $400,000."

Universal Pre-K

Among options to make up for that likely deficit, is to cut transportation for the Universal Pre-K program. As of now, the district relies on $499,000 in state aid, $700,000 in funds from the State Assembly for this program. This translates into about $1.2 million in local share.

However, the state aid may not be guaranteed for 2010-11 even though there have not been any discussions on the topic, said Katherine Phillips, the LCSD assistant superintendent for supportive services.

In the upcoming year, $400,000 of the General Fund would need to be used to keep the program running.

The current proposal maintains that the Universal Pre-K can be operated next year with four of the current eight teaching assistants and four classroom teachers. The program serves 160 district resident students and 20 County North students, with a cost of about $6,658 per student, according to Phillips' estimates.

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