CHATHAM–The administration has proposed a $26,654,445 budget for the 2010-11 school year. The plan, if adopted by the Board of Education and then by voters, would result in the loss of 12 positions, but overall spending would go down more than 1.5% compared to the current school year.
At the Tuesday, March 23, board meeting district Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo discussed with the board how her proposal would affect the tax levy, saying that it would increase the levy 2.75% in the 2010-11 school year.
“There are staff cuts but there are no significant program cuts,” Ms. Nuciforo said at the meeting, referring to the administration’s budget proposal. The plan now is to cut two special education teachers, one physical education position, one counselor, one Language Other than English teacher and two teaching assistants. The proposal would also cut a part-time music and a part-time art teacher. Some of the reductions would come from attrition, although district officials did not specify how many.
After the meeting Ms. Nuciforo said of the cuts: “It’s less than some other districts.” (See Page 1.)
The superintendent talked about declining enrollment and staff cuts, saying that class sizes would go up to 22 students per class in 7th grade and 23 in 8th grade. Though she did say some classes already have classes that size, it would be more even throughout all classes. The district is also looking into cutting the 8th grade reading program.
The proposal calls for cuts in materials, equipment, professional development, and some clerical staffers’ hours will be cut to only the time school is in session. And the district is looking at ways to save money through energy efficiency. The capital project that voters approved last winter is now in the planning phase. It includes plans for energy efficiency upgrades.
Ms. Nuciforo told the full house at the meeting that if the district kept all the programs and staff that it has this year in the budget for next year, there would be a tax levy increase of 13%. “That is not acceptable,” she said. “We are committed to bringing it in under 3%,” she said later in the meeting.
The board will continue to discuss the budget until they approve a final draft in April. The annual vote will be held Tuesday, May 18.
Meeting schedules and budget information can be found at the district website at www.chathamcentralschools.com.
There will be two open board seats on the ballot at the May 18 school budget vote. Board member Melony Spock, who was appointed to the board last fall, plans to run to keep her seat. The term of Denise Dapice expires this year and she does not plan to seek reelection. Applications for interested candidates are available at the district office.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday April 13 at 6:30pm in the High School Library.