Iroquois Superintendent Douglas Scofield directed the first in a series of budget workshops for less than a dozen people Tuesday, and emphasized that the district is not teetering near insolvency, a fiscal condition that looms over many other districts that have run through their fund balance.
“I’m glad to say we’re not there,” he announced.
However, if the tax levy is held flat, Scofield said, the gap between revenues and expenses would be more than $2 million. He noted the administration is looking at enrollment patterns for efficiencies.
The district anticipates a staff reduction in one of the elementary schools, but it would likely be offset by an additional teacher at the intermediate school.
As always, the superintendent said, the district would consider using reserves but noted they provide only a one-time boost to a budget.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said.
Concerns posted in exit surveys following last year’s budget vote also were discussed, namely whether the number of district administrators could be reduced and whether the money paid for the modification of the high school entrance could have been used elsewhere.
“As for administrative efficiency, we’re ranked 17th out of 430,” Scofield said. “That’s in the top 5 percent of New York State.” He noted the district did not hire additional personnel to administer the Annual Professional Performance Review plan, as other districts did.
He also defended the redesign of the high school entrance, saying capital reserves were used to fund the project – dollars that could not be used for general budget expenses. Part of a larger project, the new entrance is more energy efficient and improves student safety because the building now has only one main entrance, which can be bettered monitored, Scofield said.
Separately, he discussed security measures at the Elma, Marilla and Wales elementary schools, saying principals have been checking auxiliary doors daily. He said the safety committee is meeting this week and the district is considering upgrading and installing more cameras. The superintendent said he also plans to run drills this year but noted the best security measure would be returning student resource officers to the schools.