GCSD draft budget restructures classes

Sports, clubs maintained, 30 employees face reduced hours

— The district’s mantra during this budget season has been to look at the changes as a restructuring of the education process to become better prepared for future budget cycles.

Many of the decisions were based on a decline in enrollment over the last decade and a loss of interest in some elective subjects among older students, according to Neil Sanders, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

Wiles said there are still questions from parents about the impact of the schedule change at the high school and if it will have a negative effect on their child’s education.

“Questions will continue to be asked and we will address them,” said Wiles. “I think that these changes preserve other opportunities for students and the few items we had to cut I think proves that.”

No sports programs are affected in the draft budget and no art or music classes were eliminated, including the fourth grade band and orchestra programs.

“We looked at our structure to use staff more efficiently,” said Wiles. “I know it’s hard to let go of the way we have done things as part of our tutorial but by doing so we preserve more of other things. If we look at time and enrollments needs differently, we are not taking away other opportunities.”

The budget gap has narrowed since the community conversation held by the district in January. The previous gap estimate had been $3.3 million, but Wiles said contributions to the teacher’s retirement system were less then previously estimated.

However, the new state property tax cap will still hold Guilderland to increasing the tax levy by 2.5 percent without a supermajority of voters overriding the cap.

“We need to position ourselves for the long haul,” said Wiles. “I really think with these changes we will be in a better place years from now.”

There will then be several meetings to modify to proposal before the budget goes to the voters in May.

To see the full presentation for the meeting, visit the district’s website.

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