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Guilderland schools facing $1.8M gap

Forum allows comments on potential reductions and additions

Guilderland school district officials listen to a community member’s concerns during a budget forum Wednesday, Jan. 29. Attendees were presented with a list of potential changes and could ask school leaders questions about listed items.

Guilderland school district officials listen to a community member’s concerns during a budget forum Wednesday, Jan. 29. Attendees were presented with a list of potential changes and could ask school leaders questions about listed items. Photo by John Purcell.

— After a brief presentation on the budget, attendees broke out into six groups and met with school leaders regarding potential changes.

Those potential changes were broken out into six different groups, with every reduction or addition listed within its own category. Elementary instruction and staffing held $582,000 of cuts; middle school instruction and staffing had more additions at $280,000 than cuts at $42,500; high school instruction and staffing had $428,900 potential reductions with $78,900 of additions; special education had almost $450,000 of cuts and $62,000 of additions; a wide-reaching special areas category had $183,450 potential cuts and $78,000 of enhancements; and educational support services only had reductions totaling almost $660,000.

There were six areas of reductions school administrators have already identified totaling around $550,000 and were not under community consideration during the forum. These include cutting five elementary class sections due to enrollment; reducing materials supplies and equipment costs; reducing consultant and professional services; allocating less equipment repair funds; reducing travel and conference expenses; and an overall reduction in overtime.

This allowed community members to discuss the potential reductions totaling $2.34 million, but only needing $1.25 million to stay within its tax cap.

The majority of additions under consideration surrounded the middle school, which is preparing for an increase of students entering next year. The additions included tackling the growth total at $280,000 including increasing the sixth-grade core subject area, special area teaching positions, academic intervention services and math support, and adding BOCES enrichment mini-courses.

The district is holding a follow-up event to the forum on tonight, Feb. 4. Since time ran out during the community forum for a questions and answer session, the town hall-style follow-up meeting provided this opportunity.

To review all of the documents presented, along with watching the opening presentation, visit the district’s website.

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