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Staff cuts likely in new budget

A shrinking student population and lower state aid projections are among factors shaping the upcoming budget, according to Hamburg School Superintendent Steven Achramovitch.

Speaking Tuesday at his first School Board meeting since being named superintendent, Achramovitch said that cost savings are being examined across the board and that staff reductions are likely. Achramovitch had served as superintendent in an interim capacity for five months,

"After all, 75 percent of the budget is personnel costs," he said. "If we do have to make staff reductions -- and I think everyone will have to -- what we'll be doing is looking at the most effective way to do it."

This year, the district has about 3,900 students -- about 200 fewer than last year.

The high school showed the greatest reduction, at 74 students, followed by the elementary level, 34 students. The middle school posted a slight increase -- eight students.

Achramovitch said board members will have to face issues they may not have had to consider before, like whether to establish minimum class sizes for high school courses, as well as teacher class loads at the upper levels and class sizes at the elementary level.

Last year's budget cuts included a reduction in organizations, intramural sports and summer school, and the elimination of four staff members and more than a dozen teachers.

More details of the proposed 2011-12 budget will be available by Feb. 1, the board's next meeting, he said.

In other matters, the board accepted the resignation of Associate Superintendent Gordon Kerr, who has been on a leave of absence since July. Kerr left to serve as chief executive officer at Black River Music Group, a recording label in Nashville, Tenn. During the Christmas break, he told the superintendent that he intends to continue working at the company, which is owned by his family.

Achramovitch said the board has not decided whether to fill or eliminate the post.