Hamburg Central School Board members will discuss options for dealing with the loss of $450,000 in state aid at their next meeting.
The district will lose the state aid because it failed to have its teacher evaluation plan approved by New York State by Thursday.
Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch said about $450,000 will be deducted from the state aid payment due the district in March. It’s a small percentage of the $56.8 million budget, but making it up nine months into the school year will be challenging.
He said the options to adjust the budget include spending reductions, use of reserves and fund balance, or a combination of both. The goal will be to have as little impact on students and staff as possible, he said.
“At this time, we will not be recommending a reduction of teaching staff or other employees. We will look for expenditure reductions in areas that do not immediately impact students and program,” he said in a prepared statement.
Hamburg is one of four districts in New York State that did not have its Annual Professional Performance Review plan approved by the state Education Department by Thursday’s deadline. By missing the deadline, the school districts forfeit a portion of state aid for this year – money they have already counted on and put into their budgets.
New York State United Teachers spokesman Carl Korn said the union will continue to provide whatever guidance and assistance Hamburg teachers need.
“In any negotiation, trust is paramount, so one of the first steps for the Hamburg School District will be to rebuild trust with teachers, and that will be necessary to move the process forward,” Korn said.
The other districts that did not get their plans approved by the state in time are Pine Plains Central in Dutchess County, Fallsburg Central in Sullivan County and New York City, according to Korn.
“I’m disappointed that an agreement on this plan could not be reached,” said Erie 1 BOCES Superintendent Don Ogilvie. “It’s not at all like Hamburg to have not found a way to come together.”
He should know. Ogilvie used to be superintendent of the district; he still lives in the district; and he has two grandchildren attending Hamburg schools.
“I would not want those boys in any other school in any other district,” Ogilvie said. “I know the quality exists. Hamburg has found itself in a dilemma right now. It’s not the loss of heart, it’s not the loss of commitment.”
Achramovitch said a tentative agreement was reached in June, but over time it became clear the union had concerns with it. The two sides met in December and came to a second agreement, which was not approved by teachers. They voted down a third tentative agreement Jan. 11.
The two sides were close to reaching an agreement Tuesday, when negotiations broke off after the union said an administrator told some staffers their jobs could be affected if the plan was not approved. The administration told union negotiators the comment was not meant to be taken as a threat, but negotiations broke off.
“That does not mean that going forward they cannot craft a plan, they cannot come together as an organization,” Ogilvie said.