Faced with a budget gap of nearly $1 million, the Maryvale School District is considering cuts sports, music and foreign language for the next school year.
Superintendent Deborah Ziolkowski explained the district’s issues this week during a meeting of the Board of Education.
The district needs to cut about $986,000 from its 2014-15 spending plan to fall under the state-mandated tax levy cap. For Maryvale, that’s a tax levy increase of 0.42 percent, or $79,053. While Maryvale is set to receive a 6.83 percent increase in state financial aid next year, many of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s financial incentives for schools are designed for struggling districts.
“Unfortunately, Maryvale doesn’t qualify,” Ziolkowski said. “We’re not poor enough. The governor’s budget, as far as I’m concerned, is woefully inadequate for Maryvale and other school districts.”
District administrators presented the Board of Education with a list of potential budget cuts totaling $1.4 million. As the board reviewed the list and considered its options, it became clear that the decision would be painful.
On the cutting block are modified sports. The move could save Maryvale $48,000, but Athletic Director Stephen Griffin asked if he could present the board with the same amount of cuts throughout the athletic budget, possibly eliminating an individual sport altogether. The board said it would consider Griffin’s plan, but seemed to prefer the elimination of the modified program as athletes could simply move up to JV.
“It would hurt me more to pick and choose what sports to offer,” said Board President Patrick Weisansal.
Other potential cuts include staffing in the music department, which could see the elimination of the string instrument program, and decreasing foreign language options to just Spanish. Ziolkowski said the district would gradually phase out the programs starting in the earlier grades so those students currently enrolled in eliminated subjects could continue their studies.
On the budget cut list was the possibility of eight to 10 teaching positions, which could dramatically affect Maryvale’s academic programs. The elimination of a science teacher would mean the end of the AP Biology program, for example.
“Every single department would be touched if we make these cuts,” the superintendent said.
The board will discuss the potential cuts to the budget over the next month. Ziolkowski has moved the budget adoption date to April 7, which is the last possible meeting date Maryvale can pass the spending plan.
Like many other districts, Maryvale has taken issue with the state’s gap elimination adjustment program that was established in 2010 when New York faced a severe budget crisis. Maryvale has lost an estimated $11.6 million in revenue since the inception of the gap elimination adjustment program.