Proposed budget cuts from elementaries

By Jillian Marshall

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Vestal Central School District says more than a dozen elementary-level staff would be cut if a proposal budget is adopted as-is.

During the next month, however, officials are hopeful the budget presented Tuesday night will change.

Vestal School District is facing a nearly $2 million deficit.

The board says the rough draft is the worst-case scenario. And funding is still being determined; they won't know the exact amount the district will receive from the state until April 1.

Superintendent Mark LaRoach, says the board will work to cut down on expenses and reduce the overall budget. But since 80 percent of the budget is personnel, staff cuts are likely.

LaRoach said Tuesday up to 15 positions could be cut, mostly at the elementary level. During the meeting, the board said they may have to cut the athletic director down to part-time.

LaRoach said Vestal schools have seen a nearly 18 percent drop in enrollment since 2006, and the cuts could be a reflection of what he described as "right-sizing" the district.

"We've been cutting and cutting. The flesh is gone, so now it's surgery with a scalpel, but we are severing bone at this point," LaRoach said.

The school board will balance an increase in its property tax levy and cuts to staff and programs to address its deficit.

A statewide proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour is also threatening the district, LaRoach said. That increase would affect the district's substitute staff, which could add a potential $26,000 to its rolls.

The next meeting is March 19, with the final budget due April 9.