The Williamsville Central School District closed a $1.4 million budget deficit by offering an early retirement incentive that over 40 staff members, including teachers, accepted.
But not all those teachers are being replaced.
"That's one of the reasons we came to an agreement on an early retirement incentive – to be able to make staffing reductions and not have to lay people off and have people lose their jobs," said Superintendent Scott Martzloff. "That's always a secondary goal in any budget process, is to try to keep folks employed."
Martzloff was responding to a question posted by Mary Shapiro, a district parent, who was one of two speakers during a public hearing on the $186.1 million preliminary budget in the district boardroom Thursday night.
Shapiro asked if the district was in the process of hiring any new teachers and Martzloff confirmed that it is.
"We go through a very extensive teacher transfer process first, and then as part of that we also begin the hiring process, which will continue into the summer," he said.
The teachers accepted a $30,000 early retirement incentive negotiated between the district and the Williamsville Teachers Association, which resulted in a salary expense reduction of $1.4 million. Many of the teachers have at least 30 years with the district, and some have more than 40 years.
Martzloff told the audience that administrators will be monitoring class sizes at the elementary level very closely this summer up to the beginning of the 2017-18 school year and will add teaching staff if necessary.
"We want to make sure we have our class sizes, particularly at the primary level, that are within board guidelines whenever possible," he said.
The district's enrollment is projected to dip below 10,000 – to 9,972 – for the first time in many years, according to a budget presentation Thursday night.
The School Board last month unanimously adopted a 2017-18 budget with a 1.7 percent increase in spending, and will put it before voters on May 16.
The district stayed at the tax cap and maintained the current level of academic and extracurricular programming.