Written by Jill Nossa Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00
Approximately $1.4 million in budget cuts were proposed at the Glen Cove Board of Education meeting last week in order to make up for the gap in revenues in the initial estimated budget for next school year.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Victoria Galante presented an outline of the program costs for next year’s projected budget. The total appropriations for next year are projected at $80,307,873, while the projected revenues are just $78,831,086, leaving a budget gap of $1,476,787, according to the information provided by Galante at the meeting. A total of $59,919,362 in appropriations for next year’s budget comes from salaries and related expenses (including insurance and retirement costs), which Galante noted “is a huge chunk" of the budget.
“As we begin to close the gap, we do what is the worst part of my job: looking at possible reductions and proposing eliminations and options for cuts,” said Superintendent Maria L. Rianna. She stressed that the list of reductions are all just possibilities; “these are not at all set in stone,” she said.
Some of the possible reductions proposed include cutting two administrative positions for a savings of about $300,000; decreasing the number of monitors, aides and teaching assistants by 10 (out of about 156 total in the district) for a savings of $150,000; reducing the hours of kindergarten aides for a savings of $150,000; reducing AIS staff at the elementary level for a savings of $160,000; reducing the amount of permanent subs from for a savings of $90,000; reducing three custodial/maintenance positions for a $110,000 savings and reducing one full time librarian for a savings of $80,000.
Other possibilities include decreasing staff hours at the secondary level due to low enrollment in electives, for a savings of $100,000. Rianna said this savings, equivalent to one full-time employee, could come from a reduction in sections of several classes, resulting in hours being cut from several employees rather than one job lost. She also raised the possibility of decreasing one elementary class to save $80,000, reducing clubs by 50 percent to save $42,000 and reducing sports at the middle school to save $48,000.
Additional considerations proposed include eliminating or reducing the district’s pre-K program to save $175,000, reverting to “neighborhood schools” to save $200,000 and eliminating Academics’ Plus to save $80,000.
The revenues in the projected budget include an estimated amount of state aid, currently slated at about $8.3 million for next year. Rianna said she met with Sen. Carl Marcellino earlier this month in Albany, who talked about his support for Glen Cove and told her he "does believe we will get a bigger portion of the pie” though what the final number is remains uncertain.
The board will be discussing the budget and considering these options in the coming weeks before adopting a budget and putting it up for the vote on Tuesday, May 20.
Rianna also discussed the veteran’s tax exemption, which would affect 690 veterans in the district and cost taxpayers about $121 per household. She said a public hearing will be held so that residents and board members will have a chance to voice their input, at a date to be determined.