School board eyes seven teacher, staff cuts in preliminary budget

— The Cazenovia school district’s current budget outlook for the 2014-15 school year is “up in the air” until the state legislature finalizes the state budget; at the moment, however, the district’s preliminary budget calls for the elimination of six, possibly seven, district employees, including three support staff and three to four teaching positions.

These cuts are based on the assumption that the state legislature will increase state aid funding to the district by about $450,000, which was received last year. If that funding does not come through, however, even more budget cuts will be necessary.

This was part of the budget update given at the Cazenovia Board of Education’s March 24 regular meeting.

“We don’t know what the state legislature will do. They’re talking about eliminating the [Gap Elimination Adjustment] over three years,” said Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong. “Our April 14 meeting is where we’ll set our budget.”

The current budget — which is only the preliminary working draft — is increasing $180,000, or .23 percent, over last year, with the maximum 1.135 percent tax levy limit included, Furlong said. The budget has seen a 30 percent increase in special education costs during the past two years — which has simultaneously increased transportation costs for bussing special education students — and health care costs has increased 5 percent this year, 3 percent of which is caused by the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, Furlong said.

For the 2014-15 year, there have been, so far, five retirements in the district, including the director of special education and the high school principal, and all of them are important positions that need to be refilled to maintain the district’s academic standards, said Superintendent Bob Dubik. He said the retirements will save the district some money on salary “breakage,” meaning the difference between the retiring teachers’ salaries and the typically smaller salary that will be paid to the new hires who do not have as much experience.

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