Binghamton budget proposal void of layoffs

By Perry Russom

February 20, 2014 Updated Feb 20, 2014 at 11:42 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton City School District is taking its first steps in bringing next year's budget proposal to the public.

Last year, the district was forced to eliminate 55 jobs to help fill a $5 million budget gap.

In the 2013-2014 budget, there are five positions the district would not fill through attrition, according to the latest projections released Wednesday night.

This year, Assistant Superintendent Karry Mullins said the district wanted to begin the budget process earlier to provide enough time for feedback from the public.

"We're hoping that by having this process early on and being transparent, that we'll get feedback from the voters of what they feel are non negotiables for this district," said Mullins.

Wednesday night, the school district presented its latest budget to a mostly empty room. Just three people showed up to West Middle School.

"As a learning process, it was apparent to us that it's important to the stake holders, all of our community, our staff, our faculty to be a part of that at an earlier stage," said Mullins.

The state has guaranteed to give the district at least $41.3 in Foundation Aid for next school year. That means the worst case scenario is the district will lose $1.7 million.

It may seem like a lot, but it's a fraction of where the district was sitting three years ago when they lost $6 million.

In the new budget, the district is taking a stance on safety. It plans to add two School Resource Officers (SRO). One would be stationed at East Middle with the other at West Middle. The SROs would be police officers trained to work in the school.

There are also plans to add one social worker for East and West middle schools. That person would work directly for the district.

This is the second year for Mullins and Superintendent Marion Martinez.

Martinez said even with the predicted $1.7 million loss, the district is in a much better place financially than they were last year.

Martinez said the district does expect to get more money from the state. She stressed that the budget is in the preliminary phase.

The budget is scheduled to be voted on in late May.

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