Tough Times Ahead for Spartans

By Erika Mahoney

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 9:33 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Maine-Endwell School District superintendent says the school district is facing a challenging 2013/2014 budget with a $3.8 million deficit to address. Numerous cuts to staff have been proposed.

Budget talks began in October, and so did some cutting. At Thursday's meeting, the board voted to eliminate nine non-instructional positions.

As of now, two budget options are on the table.

Option one, which the superintendent said he prefers, proposes cuts in music, high school courses and athletics to name a few.

It also proposes eliminating as many as 84 positions, 36 of which are instructional.

"Last year was the first time we had to lay off any instructional staff, we laid off 14," said Superintendent Jason Van Fossen. "We keep saying, we don't want to lose programs, we don't want to impact kids, it's almost impossible, if not impossible to say that with a straight face when you go down almost 50 positions in instruction. So, that's a major hit."

Fossen says the biggest repercussion is increased class sizes.

If option one passes, Fossen estimates it will save $4.1 million.

Option two proposes cutting some 80 positions, plus the elimination of all athletics and kindergarten for a net savings of just under $4.3 million.

But the superintendent said that choice is a worst case scenario.

Fossen said proposing these cuts is not easy, but at the end of the day, the district needs to provide a system that graduates and prepares students for their futures.

He said programs can hopefully return in years to come with proper re-building.

The board will vote on a budget in April.