Guilderland schools facing $2.1M budget gap

District proposes eliminating 31 positions, tax cap falls at 3.5% increase

— Wiles said increased efforts early on to help students struggling with reading and math have resulted in a decline of students requiring reading services provided by teaching assistants.

Declining enrollment at Westmere Elementary School also allowed for the district to propose reducing clerical support for the nurse’s office by one hour. Enrollment drove the cafeteria monitor reduction, too.

District enrollment is expected to decline by 19 students to a total of 4,907 students. Elementary enrollment is scheduled to increase by 19 students, middle school to decline by 49 students and high school to increase by 11 students.

At Farnsworth Middle School, the retirement of the building principal is allowing a restructuring of leadership positions. Currently, there are three house principals and one building principal, but Wiles is proposing to eliminate one house principal position. This cut would make for a $125,000 savings.

“Anytime a retirement occurs within an organization it is time to step back say ‘Is there another way?’” Wiles said. “I do believe it is possible to rethink how we redeploy people … to continue to serve the needs of our students not just well, but really very well.”

The middle school enrichment program would be eliminated, along with one reading position, each at a savings of $72,000. Declining enrollment is also driving the suggesting of reducing one section of each seventh grade special area offering to save $20,600.

The high school’s biggest reduction includes reducing three full-time equivalent English teacher positions and restoring one section per grade level of the English and social studies hybrid “X” course. This would result in an overall savings of $216,000.

Additional high school suggestions include eliminating two hall monitors positions for a $46,800 savings, reducing one non-regents algebra 2 and trigonometry position, one section of core biology and summer school cost savings totaling $18,340.

Athletics would have all assistant coaching positions eliminated, affecting six teams, and junior varsity golf would be eliminated due to limited participation.

After several cuts were outlined, there would the addition of one section of Italian at the sixth grade level. This would likely carry forward for the incoming sixth grades and is planned to continue being offered.

The Guilderland Board of Education will hold on informal budget hearing on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m., at the high school. To view the draft budget and superintendent's presentation, visit the district website at guilderlandschools.org.

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