Liverpool Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns presents his budget proposal before the board of education Monday Feb. 27. The budget calls for a 2 percent tax increase, personnel cuts and spending down the district's reserves.
Photo by Sarah Hall.
Liverpool Just like districts across Central New York, Liverpool is facing a tough budget year.
Having made cuts to nonessential programs and personnel the last three years, Superintendent Richard Johns said during his budget presentation Monday night in the Soule Road complex that crafting the 2012-13 budget was the hardest task he’d yet faced.
“What makes this budget so incredibly difficult is the cumulative effect of underfunding schools, and Liverpool in particular, at the state and county levels,” Johns said. “[The state has] moved education to a shamefully low priority.”
Johns’ budget, which both he and the board of education emphasized was only the initial presentation, offered a total spending plan of $129,251,183, down from $132,966,686 last year. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preliminary budget proposal, Liverpool is set to receive $48,874,978 in state aid. Johns is looking to raise $72,536,226 in local tax dollars, roughly a 2 percent increase. He is asking that the remainder — $4,719,382 — come from the district’s fund balances.
According to Johns’ presentation, the district, according to his initial projections, had originally been looking at a $10.1 million shortfall for the 2012-13 budget year. The actual figure was $9.2 million. After adjustments for growth within the district, the figure dropped to about $8.6 million.
That’s when the real work began.
Johns started by making serious cuts. With non-personnel cuts — contractual obligations, BOCES services, materials and supplies, etc. — in the amount of $1,064,263 and personnel cuts — which included six full-time elementary staff, numerous teacher’s aides and teaching assistants, two librarians, three fine arts teachers, six custodial staff and more — in the amount of $3,843,012, the deficit dropped to roughly $3.4 million.
Johns said that, after years of trimming around the edges of the budget, there was no way to avoid staff cuts this year.