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Liverpool superintendent proposes job cuts, tax increase in upcoming budget

During the Feb. 28 Liverpool Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Richard Johns presented his 2011-2012 budget proposal before the board and a full house of students, teachers, parents and Liverpool residents.

In his proposal, Dr. Johns announced his $132,852,400 budget, which calls for a 4.4 percent tax increase for local residents. This 2011-2012 proposed budget is only 1.2 percent higher than the $131,277,809 budget that was adopted for the 2010-2011 school year, and actually less than the $132,981,924 budget adopted during the 2008-9009 school year.

To make up for the $11.5 million shortfall in state aid due to Governor Cuomo's proposed state budget, Dr. Johns suggested 30 personnel cuts from Liverpool Central School District staffing, which he broke down to 16 teachers, five teaching assistants, two administrators, four support staff, and three from operations and maintenance. This was then compared to the 130 positions cut during last school year's budgeting. During the presentation, he stated he was trying to keep as many teachers in the classrooms and eliminate as few teachers as possible. Other cuts included $699,256 in off-site student programming.

Dr. Johns also gave his FOCUS Academy proposal during the presentation. He outlined the program as a 90-student alternative education path designed for kids that are not having success in high school and have no drug or violence issues. Eleven personnel-including seven full time, and four part time positions shared by the high school-would make up the FOCUS Academy staff. Equipment, technology and supplies would be budgeted in to Liverpool High School spending, and custodial staffing would be used from LHS.

The presentation also included a breakdown of Dr. Johns' technology plan, which included $2.7 million in purchases on technology equipment, including classroom projectors and laptop computers; and leasing of an additional 500 laptops for grades 10 through 12.

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