Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) District officials from Maine-Endwell say they have no choice. It is unknown how many people will lose their jobs in an effort to close a $3.8 million budget hole.
The school board has decided to cut staff to reduce their $3.8 million budget deficit. The board won't say which positions will be cut, be it teachers or administrators. However, the board is unsure of how many mid-year reductions could be made but more than 40 will need to be made by June.
"Obviously people are upset, people are nervous. And the goal is, in the end, we still have to provide a high quality program. If you are working with students for the next 20 weeks, you still have an obligation as a professional to do your job," said Superintendent Jason Van Fossen.
Teachers declined to talk on camera, but one of them did say "We are all sad and disappointed."
As far as raising the extra money through increased taxes goes, Van Fossen says that's not an option. The tax levy would have to be in the double digits.
"I don't think that's responsible. Even though we're responsible for 2,600 students and their parents, it's a 10,000 taxpayer community and other people that don't have students, we still have a responsibility to them," said Van Fossen.
Van Fossen said the reason for this budget problem is because they waited so long to implement these pending staff cuts.
"We basically plugged a hole for two years. By not reducing those expenses the compounded with salary increases, health insurance, pension costs, all those factors that have multiplied because we didn't lay off a number of staff sooner," said Van Fossen.
The school board says after these cuts take place, it should stabilize the school budget for the foreseeable future.
Superintendent Van Fossen will identify positions that will be recommended for abolishment at the Jan. 10 meeting. The abolishments will be up for board review and approval.
According to Maine-Endwell Communications Coordinator, Brenda Potsko, all impacted staff members will be notified prior to the Jan. 10 Board of Education meeting and impacted staff members will be officially notified on Jan. 11 of the board’s decision.
The Board of Education will be working over the next several months on making staff reductions for the 2013-2014 school year.