BURNT HILLS: District works on budget

One of the factors in the district's favor is an unexpected windfall of more state aid than was originally predicted. Under Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposed budget, the district would receive a 3 percent increase.

Assistant School Super-intendent for Support Services Jackie St. Onge, however, warned school board members those numbers aren't carved in stone.

"The governor's plan came out with an advantage for us," said St. Onge. "Although we remain cautiously optimistic, things could change as other New York state school districts adversely affected lobby the Legislature."

Schultz has recommended several small staffing increases for 2007-08. These include one elementary teacher for $42,000 to respond to class size concerns; a part-time high school math teacher to address changes in the

state-mandated sequence of math courses for $10,400; a full-time teacher assistant at the middle school for $23,900; increased BOCES technology support particularly at the elementary schools for $30,000; a half-time

high school special education teacher for $28,800; $6,000 to supervise the high school's new and often crowded fitness center; and $12,000 for varsity and junior varsity boys and girls lacrosse coaches.

The budget draft also includes a plan to serve the comprehensive developmental skills class of special education pupils in the high school rather than a BOCES program, which will save $100,000, even though this change would require two additional part-time staff members.

The superintendent's recommended budget also includes lower cost estimates for salaries, benefits and energy costs compared to January's preliminary figures.

The board of education expects to adopt a budget on April 17, which will then go before district voters on May 15.""

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