Budget axe falls on Owego-Apalachin

By Perry Russom

April 9, 2014 Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 12:44 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Dozens packed an auditorium Wednesday night in Owego waiting to see where the Owego-Apalachin School District's budget axe would fall and how deep the cuts would be.

The school district passed their 2014-2015 budget proposal Wednesday, deciding that 21 people will lose their jobs before the next school year. But the taxpayers still have the final say.

One after another, students filled an auditorium at Owego Free Academy lobbying to save the job of one of their Spanish teachers who was on the chopping block. They were able to save that job, as well as three others.

The district was looking to cut 25 positions at the beginning of the night.

They saved the Spanish teacher, two teaching assistants and moved a full-time music teacher to part-time.

"(The board) understood the need to make some fairly deep cuts, which are very painful, but at the same time they understand that we can still use some of our reserves to balance our budget so we don't have to cut too deeply," said OASD Superintendent Bill Russell.

One board member noted he wants these positions to be secure for the teachers saying he doesn't want them looking over their shoulders while they're teaching.

The budget totals $42 million and stays within the tax levy limit, but $361,000 will have to be taken out of reserves to balance the district's revenues and expenditures.

Now that the proposal is passed, the district will have two public hearings on the budget before taxpayers make the final decision on these job cuts with a vote on May 20.