THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Wednesday night’s presentation by Superintendent Susan Guiney began with announcements of the district’s educational accomplishments. The presentation turned sour as Guiney went on to announce that 10 district aides would be losing their job due to substantial budget cuts.
The cuts come as a result of keeping the district’s budget within the 2 percent tax levy cap and Guiney said the schools will feel the effects.
“We haven’t decided what aides or areas of the school that will be affected yet, but for instance if there’s an aide in the hallway doing bus passes then that responsibility could fall on clerical staff if that person is let go,” Guiney said. “It’s not going to be easy, it’s always better to have more people but we can’t because of reductions.”
The announcement was part of Guiney’s presentation at Westlake High School of the 2012-13 proposed budget for the Mount Pleasant Central School District. In total, $1.5 million in reductions were made in the instructional portion of the budget. The $50.8 million preliminary budget falls within the 2 percent tax levy cap requirements and will raise taxes for residents by $218 for the year in an average assessed household. Along with the cut of aides, the district was also able to save money by eliminating a first-grade and fifth-grade section due to a decrease in enrollment and also eliminating the cost of one bus in the district.
Guiney said the school board will work closely with the administrators of each of the four schools to discuss which teacher aide positions can be eliminated and that none of the aides will be in the special education department.
In addition to the cut in aides, the district has a plan to offer a retirement incentive plan to current teachers in order to save the district almost $200,000. Guiney and district Business Manager Lisa Sanfilippo said the plan is to save money by replacing the veteran teachers with new teachers that will be paid significantly less due to their lack of experience in the salary steps.
“The plan is only for our current teachers who are eligible to retire,” Sanfilippo said. “So we currently have a pool of teachers that we are going to take a look at.”
Guiney said that if the goal amount of reductions is not met through the retirement incentive plan, the district may need to dip into its reserved fund balance to offset the cost.
The preliminary budget will be adopted on April 4 and the final budget will be voted on by the Mount Pleasant residents on May 15.