MONTROSE, N.Y. – Although details on where Hendrick Hudson School District will find $2.6 million in savings are unclear, school board members seem to agree the cuts will come from the district’s staff.
“The only way to make meaningful cuts is in staff,” said Marion Walsh, Hendrick Hudson Board of Education President. She pointed out that staff does not necessarily mean teachers. “Everything is on the table at this point.”
The district is hoping to find significant savings through collective bargaining agreements and is negotiating with four of the five unions that represent district employees. Superintendent Daniel McCann said that with current contracts, $2.6 million in savings is the equivalent of laying off 15 teachers.
“Obviously, we want to keep the services intact,” said Mary-Pat Briggi, school board member. She said she didn’t see where else the cuts could come from, and that labor accounts for a majority of the district’s budget.
“We’re in a very difficult position with the tax cap, without the reforms that have been promised,” said Walsh about mandate relief promises from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Throughout the budgeting process, most budgets presented to the board were higher than the previous year, or have been cut from a roll over budget. Roll over budgets assume the budget will remain the same, and add contractual increases to present a starting point for budgeting.
The administrative budget, for example, was increased by $66,301 from the 2011-2012 year, the proposed technology budget increased by $19,222 from year-to-year and the athletic budget was reduced by $25,235 year-to-year. Other cuts have come from substitute teacher pay, reducing pay by 10 percent saved the district about $40,000. Substitute teachers in Hendrick Hudson School District now make $72 per day, instead of $80.
The debt and benefits budget was increased by a little over $1 million, a 6.2 percent increase. The 2011-2012 debt and benefits budget was $17.1 million, the proposed 2012-2013 budget is $18.1 million. The total of increases in proposed budgets presented to the board is $1,118,240.
The next meeting of the Hendrick Hudson Board of Education is March 14, at 7:30 p.m.