Another 'grueling' budget season for Union-Endicott schools

By Erika Mahoney

February 26, 2013 Updated Feb 26, 2013 at 11:24 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Union-Endicott's superintendent says she's looking forward to a budget season that's not all about maintaining and trimming.

Dr. Suzanne McLeod says the district's latest $73.5 million budget proposal places U-E at the maximum tax levy increase permitted by the state at 3.66 percent.

If approved, it will save programs and positions from the chopping block.

Still, the superintendent says she was hoping to restore some programs that had been cut in years past.

"This is getting grueling in terms of, when are things going to turn around?" McLeod asked. "I'm really getting concerned about the needs of the students."

McLeod says during the past three years, 104 positions have been cut and nearly a quarter of extracurricular activities and athletics have been trimmed.

One parent says it hasn't been easy watching programs dwindle and teachers leave for her 4th grade daughter, but she remains hopeful.

"Maintaining is a success," parent Amy Winans said. "We've had hard decisions to make in recent years, but to be where we are now, that's a breath of relief. What I'm looking forward to now is to see some things we've lost restored. And I do believe our school board is looking hard for those opportunities."

Winans says she isn't looking forward to having her taxes potentially go up, but she knows the dollars on her tax bill mean something really important: Her daughter's education.

The next budget meeting is scheduled for March 27, with a final vote on May 21.

McLeod encourages the public to attend both meetings, so residents understand what's at stake and have an opportunity to provide feedback.