In the fourth and likely final draft of the 2014-15 East Aurora school budget, Superintendent Brian Russ said the district was able to restore a number of items to the $31.1 million spending plan that carries a 2.91 percent tax levy increase.
But the restorations are not enough to bring programs back to their previous levels, Russ told the School Board last week.
Among the restorations are a part-time elementary music teacher and a high school physical education teacher. Those were made possible, in part, by $30,000 in salary reductions agreed to by the 10 employees of the administrative staff, including the superintendent.
In a significant change, the high school physical education program would no longer require 11th- and 12th-graders to take physical education, as long as they participate in at least two varsity sports.
Athletic Director Fred Thornley said the move is necessary because without it, under proposed staffing levels, class sizes would range from 34 to 40 students. With about 116 students likely to be exempt from physical education under the new proposal, he anticipates class sizes will range from about 23 to 33 students.
Board members asked what would happen if a student-athlete wanted to take physical education anyway. High School Principal Jay Hoagland said the student would only be considered for a gym class if it fits into the student’s schedule and only if there is availability in a gym class.
Middle school students will also see a change, with fourth-grade instrumental music lessons taking place before school rather than during the day. School officials say students will take the early bus to the high school, then stay on the bus for an early drop-off at the elementary school.
One portion of the plan still undecided was an initiative to begin charging out-of-district teachers for their children who attend East Aurora schools. The $2,000 charge would be far less than the full tuition of $11,000 charged other out-of-district students. The board adjourned to a brief closed session on the matter but returned without a final decision.
Adoption of the budget is scheduled for the next board meeting April 23.