Nisky narrows down budget reductions

School officials ask bargaining units for salary freeze

The Niskayuna Board of Education did away with some of the most detrimental cuts to students in its draft budget, and a proposed salary freeze would help rescue additional programming.

The nearly 20 Level 4 reductions were discussed line by line during the Niskayuna BOE meeting on Tuesday, March 15, but ultimately it appeared board members would push aside the majority reductions determined to have the greatest impact on students in Superintendent Kevin Baughman's list of possible reductions. There was also a discussion about the various sports programs offered and where cuts could be made.

Are we saying to the athletic director you pick and choose or are we saying we want modified kids to get that experience and are we going to forego with the freshman and have kids go to JV, said board member Robert Winchester.

Board members questioned what sports the Suburban Council would be supporting in the upcoming season, but while it is still determining that issue Baughman said if theboard waited on the council to decide it would probably be past when the budget is due for adoption. If certain sports were eliminated at the high school level board members worried how it would affect those students, who need some sort of high school participation in order for college scholarships and applications. Without the high school level the students would be cut out from college recognition.

There were also 13 reductions through the remaining three levels of cuts discussed by the board on what they were thinking to drop moving forward. The $6 million budget gap would be narrowed down by around $4.2 million if the board accepted all Level 1 to 3 reductions. If all $5 million of the possible cuts were accepted there would be a 2 percent tax increase.

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