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Facing budget deficit, Springville-Griffith considers eliminating teaching position, restructuring sports

A teaching position could be eliminated and baseball and softball teams may be restructured as the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District expects a budget deficit.

Principal Vincent T. Vanderlip told the School Board on Tuesday about class sizes and staffing, proposing to drop a social studies teaching position along with some electives in that department.

The district may withdraw classes such as “history of the 1960s” and “history of organized crime,” said Vanderlip, who described them as “novelty items.”

Board member Kara M. Kane said the enrollment for some of those classes has been in the single digits.

Removing positions and classes has become necessary because of the potential deficit next year. After originally anticipating a $1.6 million shortfall in 2015-16, officials have dropped the projection to $800,000 to $850,000 because union contracts contained lower costs than expected.

The board accepted ideas for revenue enhancements and spending cuts at a community discussion Jan. 27 and plans to continue searching for budget reductions.

During his presentation, Vanderlip estimated that some class sizes will jump from 20 to 25 students.

Other changes could occur in athletics. Superintendent Paul M. Connelly told the board that the district could switch the baseball and softball teams’ format from modified, junior varsity and varsity to “modified A,” which would include seventh through ninth grades, and varsity.

Creating “modified A” teams would eliminate the junior varsity teams and mean that 10th-graders would have to try out for varsity teams.

Board members also approved offering the resignation incentive to employees. The incentive, which the district gave last year, lets employees leave with compensation to avoid possible layoffs.

The vote was 4-0, with board member Chris Cerrone absent.