Cuts in a dozen areas, from clubs to librarians, social workers and sports, are being talked about to close a $3.62 million budget gap in the tentative Frontier Central School District budget.
“Nothing that we’re talking about today is definite,” Interim Superintendent Paul G. Hashem said Tuesday night. “If we don’t have to [cut], we won’t, but we have to start prioritizing.”
The budget gap narrowed since the board’s meeting last week because of reductions in supplies and commodities and a change in the calculation of the tax cap, said business manager Richard Calipari. He said the state comptroller’s office gave the district new information on how to handle capital expenditures, allowing the district to raise about $600,000 more in taxes than originally thought.
But it was Hashem’s lesson at the display board, with red and black markers, on revenues and reductions that got the School Board’s attention.
He said administrators have discussed a number of possible areas for cuts. Among them are not replacing Director of Facilities Allan Brown, who is retiring, and reducing the number of “specials” such as art and music, to what is required, instead of providing more classes than are required.
Other possibilities include cutting some of the 66 co-curricular clubs at the middle and high schools, eliminating one of 11 speech teachers, one or two social workers, as well as one or two librarians. One librarian is retiring, he said. The number of classroom and personal aides is being reviewed, as are cutting late bus runs and changing the team-teaching model at the Middle School to teams in sixth grade, and a junior high model in seventh and eighth grades.
Modified athletics also could be on the chopping block, as well as the athletic trainer at the Middle School. The district will seek proposals for its insurance in hopes of lowering the cost.
“We value everyone we’re talking about here,” Hashem said.
The district is looking at some increased revenues, including an increase in state financial aid, although it is not known how much that might be.
The freeze on spending instituted last September has saved $300,000, and the retirement incentive is expected to save about $800,000, he said. Nine employees signed up for the incentive by Monday’s deadline.
The district also expects to save money by going to a self-funded health insurance program for all district employees next year.
“What you see today will probably change,” Hashem said. “It will change by the time the budget is adopted.”
He said he hopes the board will adopt the 2014-15 budget in early April.