Hamburg still looking for cuts to close gap in school budget - The Buffalo News
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Hamburg still looking for cuts to close gap in school budget

More than 20 positions would be eliminated, including 8.5 through layoffs, to help balance Hamburg Central School District’s proposed 2014-15 budget.

But even with savings from retirements, layoffs and other reductions, the budget gap still is more than $100,000, Director of Administrative Services Barbara Sporyz said Wednesday night.

The district had been looking at a budget gap of $2.2 million if it wanted to stay within its 4.2 percent tax cap. But with additional state aid and $845,700 in savings from a retirement incentive, the gap was narrowed to less than $1 million.

Further reductions were outlined for the School Board and about 60 parents, students and staff who attended the budget session in Union-Pleasant Elementary School.

While the new state budget gave the district about $400,000 in more aid than the governor first proposed, it wasn’t enough, Superintendent Richard Jetter said. He said when asked by politicians this week what he thought of the state budget, he replied, “I’m disgusted.”

“This week was very disappointing,” he told the board.” Some balloons were busted.”

He praised the five teachers and 16 other staff members who took advantage of the retirement incentive.

“We will miss them,” he said. But he said the tight finances still will require the reduction in programs for children .

“These people love their jobs,” Jetter said. “I’m very sorry. I’m extremely sorry.”

Under the current proposal, two music teachers who retired will not be replaced, causing the elimination of band and orchestra in fourth grade and the restructuring of the music department. Many parents pleaded for the board to replace the teachers, and the board was treated to songs played by four student musicians.

“You have a wonderful reputation for music,” said Mark Panfil, who said that is one of the reasons he moved to Hamburg. “That will injure your music program so severely.”

Other reductions include four elementary teachers, one teacher in the high school Learning Center, a French and a Spanish teacher at the high school and middle school, an elementary health teacher, a library media center teacher, and 1.5 counseling positions at the high school and middle school. A cleaning position from the buildings and grounds department would be eliminated and six teacher aides who are retiring would not be replaced.

Funding for clubs would be cut by $55,000 and $60,000 would be eliminated from the sports budget by eliminating assistant coaches, except in football and swimming where they are required for the safety of athletes. The 5:30 p.m. bus run would be eliminated, intramurals would be cut and a senior clerk-typist position would be abolished. The assistant principal at the high school would go from a 12-month to a 10-month position and detention and the homework assistance program would be restructured.

“It’s very sad,” Board Member Patti Brunner Collins said.

The School Board also would go “paperless,” saving $2,100 and the district would go to a four-day summer work schedule to save $2,500 in energy costs.


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