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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 17, 2011

Nothing definite in $21M budget

By Saranac Hale Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — The latest school-district budget figures include a $350,000 decrease from the current year’s spending plan, but still carry a 2.89-percent tax-levy increase.

It is unclear how much the current version of the $21.3 million spending proposal will change before it is put to vote on May 17, the school district’s assistant superintendent for business, Sarita Winchell, said yesterday.

The cost of health insurance could change, but she won’t know until the end of the week, Winchell said.

“There definitely won’t be anymore cuts,” she said, adding that the picture can only get better for Voorheesville, not worse.

According to estimates from the governor’s proposed budget, the district will get about $5 million in state aid — roughly a quarter of the coming year’s projected budget, and about $500,000 less than this year.

In a presentation that Winchell gave to the school board at the beginning of the month, the budget included the replacement of the elementary school librarian with a teaching assistant, for a savings of $34,500.  Winchell is now expecting that the librarian’s position will be restored.

The current budget proposal includes two fewer full-time teaching positions in the middle school, which will move from five class sections in each grade to four.  Rearranging the physical-education and health schedule will reduce a full-time teaching position by two-tenths.  And reassigning department chairs will reduce one science and one foreign-language position by two-tenths each.  One special-education teaching assistant position in both the high school and elementary school will be eliminated.

The district has roughly 1,200 students and just over 100 teachers, according to the New York State District Report Card.

Currently, the district is planning to cut freshman basketball and junior varsity golf, Winchell said.  “It’s not just a budget question, it’s also a question of who are we going to play?” she said, since so many other districts are cutting teams.

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