Pearl River Schools Director of Operations Quinton Van Wynen promised there will be no surprises in the 2013-14 district budget being proposed for adoption at tonight's meeting 7:30 p.m. in the district administration building.
"If somebody got up (Tuesday) and said, 'I didn't know that.' I'd ask where they had been on vacation," Van Wynen said. "There are no surprises. It all flows from the program suggestions."
Pearl River School District building principals and department heads were called upon to find places to cut in their budgets. They explained those options during a meeting Jan. 23. At that meeting, Van Wynen said the district had to make up a $1.7 million deficit to get under the state-mandated tax cap.
"(The proposal) is based on the $1.7 million deficit and the program changes we discussed in January," Van Wynen said. "It's eliminating the deficit through program cuts."
The proposed budget can still be changed between tonight's meeting and the Pearl River 2013-14 Budget Vote and Board of Education Election scheduled for May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Pirate Cove at Pearl River High School.
The proposed budget calls for 17.1 total positions being cut, which has an impact on 19 people, some of them part time. The district was able to cover for some of the need for cuts when four employees retired earlier this year.
"That saved people (from being let go), not positions," Van Wynen said. "This is the first time we are letting people go because we are altering programs."
The full list of positions being eliminated can be found in the agenda for tonight's meeting here on the Pearl River School District website.
The following positions would be abolished:
- 1 Art teacher
- .6 Music teacher
- 1 Librarian
- 1 Special education teacher
- .4 School psychologist
- .5 Speech teacher
- .6 Math teaher
- 1 Social studies teacher
- .8 Spanish teacher
- 3.4 Elementary school teachers
- 6 Teaching assistants
- Duplicating machine operator
- Audio visual aide (part time)
One of the elementary school teacher position cuts is due to a decrease in enrollment. One less section will be needed in 2013-14, so the position is being being abolished. Aside from that, all classroom teacher positions will be filled and there will be no reduction in the number of sections, so the staff reduction should not have an impact on class sizes.
Van Wynen said the budget proposal will put Pearl River Schools under the state tax cap, though the actual levy increase will be 3.5%. The state's cap is two percent, but there are exceptions. In this case, most of the exception that applies is the increase in the amount the district must pay into teacher's retirement system.
"Even though the levy is going up 3.5%, it is within the law," Van Wynen said.
Tuesday's meeting will also include presentations of Pearl River High School National History Day Student Projects. The projects include "The Fall of the Berlin Wall" by Chris Seiss and Kevin Murphy, "The Storming of the Bastille" by Kaitlyn Lavan and Deidre O'Toole, "The Invention of the Steam Engine" by Liam O'Connor, "Napoleon's Russian Campaign" by Christian Cartensen, "The Execution of King Louis XVI" by Kristen Sammon and Samantha O'Grady and "The Easter Rising in Ireland" by Aisling McGinley.
For more information on the school district budget process, read the following posts on Patch.
- Pearl River Schools Examine Expenses
- Pearl River School Board Addresses Questions About Administration
- Pearl River Schools Continue Budget Workshops
- Pearl River Schools Accept Four Retirements
- Pearl River Schools Face Budget Cuts for 2013-14
Correction: The proposed reduction in speech teaching positions is 0.5.