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Williamsville Schools considers cutting 4 tech positions

An assistant superintendent and three technology jobs would be eliminated from the Williamsville Central Schools budget next year under a proposal to save $300,000.

Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff told Williamsville School Board members Tuesday that he doesn’t expect the plan to trim four vacant positions will hurt the district’s efforts to integrate technology into classrooms.

The proposal is the first budget reduction that board members have explored as they begin to make financial plans for the 2014-2015 school year.

“These savings also indicate our desire to make cuts and reductions in the 2014-15 budget as far away from classroom instruction as possible,” Martzloff said.

The four jobs include the assistant superintendent for technology, as well as three computer support technician positions that have become vacant as people left.

School Board members will spend the next few months working with administrators to plan a budget that they can send to residents for a vote in May. The budget for the current school year increased expenses by 3.3 percent to $170 million.

Martzloff told board members that he would have additional information on the district’s tax cap and other potential expense reductions at their next meeting Feb. 11. But he cautioned the board that lower-than-expected state aid increases and a base tax cap that is lower than in previous years would pose challenges.

The school district calculates that all of its financial aid from the state next year would increase by 1.3 percent under a proposal unveiled earlier this month by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, but that state aid would remain 17.53 percent below what the district received in 2008-09.

“When you hear the public discourse from the Governor’s Office talking about increases in state aid and generous increases, the facts are the facts, and the numbers don’t lie,” Martzloff said. “In this case, we’ve had almost a 20 percent reduction still in state aid. So regardless of some slight increases we’ve received in the last few years, we’re still very far behind where we were at that time.”

The superintendent told board members that initial state aid projections would make it difficult to begin expanding foreign language instruction to kindergarten as they had hoped.