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School Board explores budget cuts

Possible reductions needed to close a $7 million gap between expenditures and revenues for the Grand Island School District's 2012-13 budget were outlined for the Board of Education on Monday by Superintendent Robert Christmann.

He said, "None of these are recommendations they are starting points for the board to begin its discussions." The board expects to adopt a budget March 26.

The draft $54.1 million budget reflects an increase of $2.3 million over this year. Major increases include $1,068,358 for staff salaries; $367,500 for special-education tuitions; $267,146 for health insurance; $239,250 for the teacher retirement system; $129,000 for the (non-instructional) employee retirement system; $115,500 for utilities; $82,187 for BOCES contracts; and $50,000 for building maintenance/heating and air conditioning.

Proposed revenue increases totaling $5.7 million include $921,000 from an increase of 3.2 percent in the property tax levy; $2 million from the appropriated fund balance; $1 million from the debt service reserve; $800,000 each from employee retirement reserve and employee benefit reserve; $100,000 from the unemployment reserve fund; and $82,500 in additional sales taxes.

Christmann said possible reductions that could meet the "phase 2 shortfall" of $1,390,508 include:

Retiring teachers, $300,000; administrative salaries, $50,000 from a realignment of administrators; BOCES services, $100,000; utilities, $200,000; field trips, $2,500; a cut of 10 percent in school supplies, $80,000; staff and Board of Education conferences, $7,000; all intramurals, $35,000; and dropping one edition of the district newsletter, $3,000.

Sunday use of the high school by community groups, $12,000; a 50 percent cut in modified athletic teams, $25,000; athletic teams, $50,000; 10 percent cut in extracurricular activities, $7,500; operation of the pool from April 1-Aug. 15, $30,0000; special-education tuitions, $150,000.

Also under consideration are changes in bus routes and sharing business office operations with another school district.

Personnel cuts totaling $918,000 under consideration include three elementary school and three secondary teachers, $420,000; a pupil services staffer, $70,000; two transportation workers, $50,000; three full-time monitors, $120,000; a senior library clerk, $50,000; and two custodial/maintenance workers, $100,000.

For complete coverage, go to buffalonews.com/grandisland.