Saratoga Springs School District resumes budget talks

The school currently has 107 paid coaches, Sheehan said, and he highlighted the school's athletic successes, adding that 19 out of 28 varsity teams were awarded by NYSPHSAA for having grade points averages about 90 percent.

Sheehan also said that the budget for equipment reconditioning would have to double because of the recent outbreaks of MRSA, a bacterial "staph" infection resilient to antibiotics.

Other increases included uniforms, increasing from $32,051 in 2006-07, to $40,796 in 2007-08, to this year's proposed $54,223. Board member Chuck Phillips described the athletic budget increase as substantial and would be looked at more closely in the upcoming budget-to-budget discussions.

Michael Piccirillo, assistant superintendent for Secondary Education and former Guilderland Central School District principal, said that he wanted an expansion of the district's curriculum mapping.

His new budget proposals included initiating a Sponsor-A-Scholar program, which would start with students in 10th grade that may not be able to attend college and help them financially and through the use of mentors. The program would be grant funded, he added.

Piccirillo said that the Schenectady Central School District has such a program and that it's very successful.

"It's a really great program for kids that would not normally be served," Piccirillo said.

As for the mapping expansion, Piccirillo asked to hire an English Language Arts curriculum coordinator, at the cost of $108,982 including benefits, and keyboard specialist to for clerical duties, at the cost of $49,016 including benefits.

The keyboard specialist would help serve both Piccirillo and the superintendent of elementary education.

The grand total of both programs would come in at $200,960, he told the board.

Curriculum mapping is a process for collecting and recording curriculum-related data that identifies core skills and content taught, processes employed, and assessments used for each subject area and grade level. The completed curriculum map can then become a tool to help teachers keep track of what has been taught and plan what will be taught.

Saratoga residents approved a $104,306,029 budget last year on May 15, by a nearly two-to-one margin, according to school officials.

Voters also approved two propositions: the $7,434,000 EXCEL Capital Improvement Project and a $995,795 school bus purchase proposition for up to 10 66-passenger buses and two 24-passenger buses.

The budget-to-budget increase last year was 4.2 percent or $4.2 million. The finalized tentative budget for 2008-09 has not yet been released and the next scheduled budget meeting will take place on April 1 at 7 p.m. at the high school.""

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