Weekly Feature

2011-01-19 / Education

Board to examine impact of reductions

Williamsville schools
by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Following dozens of budget-saving considerations noted by the superintendent, the Williamsville Central School Board next month will be discussing ways of cutting costs that will have the least impact on the district.

During the board’s Jan. 11 meeting, Superintendent Howard Smith said that as a result of rising costs and an approximate reduction of $1.6 million in state funding, the 2011-12 budget would realize an estimated $8.4 million shortfall.

Smith said a possible New York State property tax cap of 2 percent would create nearly $6.4 million of that shortfall.

He said that next year’s budget is the first he will be working with where cuts will be made to maintain services and programs will not be enhanced.

“The board may want to think about teacher reduction and restructuring students’ class sizes,” Smith said. “It’s something we need to explore.”

During the meeting, Smith outlined possible spending reductions that could be used when developing the 2011-12 budget. The cuts would eliminate as much as $7.8 million in district expenditures.

The following are some of the considerations — for discussion purposes only — Smith addressed during his presentation:

 Eliminating athletic trainer services — a savings of $70,000.

 Stopping all equipment purchases for one academic year to save $724,151. Such purchases include instructional, custodial and maintenance items.

 Reducing monies allocated to staff development by $709,813.

“The question that we, the district, and you as a board has to answer is would the money we save in these items be worth the aggravation we might get,” Smith said.

He said the next steps will be continuing to review all planned expenditures and reallocating all resources where possible.

Smith said next year’s preliminary budget will be presented to the board in late February or early March.

Board members will be reviewing all of the possible reductions and will discuss them during their next meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the boardroom at the District Office, 105 Casey Road, East Amherst.

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