S. Colonie discusses budget with community

As Miller said the district is still creating the actual budget and still fine tuning some things, Buhner said it is currently working on a "worst-case scenario" situation and having to find a savings of $3 million while protecting achievements and programs.

Buhner did say there is a possibility of 10 to 14 positions that could be lost, either through layoffs, attrition or retirements. He said there is already a list of people that are on a list due to their position being eliminated. But Miller assured, it's just the nature of the business.

"Cutting back on just supplies is insignificant with the size of a budget like ours," she said. "We're a people business."

But Backus said that not all of the positions will be coming from just one line and that all areas will be doing their part in reductions.

"I don't think you're going to see 14 teachers on one line," he said. "It will be spread across many different areas."

She did place some of the blame for these layoffs on the increase of pension payments, adding that there is no room for the district to negotiate an increase or a decrease.

There are five administration positions that will be eliminated since people have retired from them. Something Buhner said will help the district during the budget process.

Miller did say that there is a surplus from last school season of $5.6 million, but said that the district cannot constantly go to it to plug the budget gap, as she said that "all reserves are not expendable." The district must position itself to be prepared for anything that may go wrong in the coming school year, as Buhner said it must be looking a year ahead when constructing budget.

"Unfortunately, it's very unpredictable," he said. "We can't even plan a half a year at a time. I'm not confident in the management of state funds. And I think our reserves have been used thoughtfully over the past few years."

On Tuesday, March 8, the district will reveal its instructional budget, with the first draft of the budget being released on March 15. Those meetings will be held at the district offices on Loralee Drive.""

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