Last week, the Pearl River teachers and administrators agreed to salary give-backs.
Tonight, the impact of those give-backs will be on display as Pearl River School District Director of Operations Quinton Van Wynen presents an updated 2011-12 budget proposal to the board of education during a public budget workshop session after the regular school board meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in Pirate Cove.
"It changes things dramatically," Van Wynen said. "It allows us, through these agreements, not to have to make any major program changes this year. Nor will we have to cut any of the teachers for program reasons. There will be a couple of cuts having to do with enrollment, for lack of enrollment in certain things. There will be very little change in program as we go into next year."
Van Wynen and other Pearl River administrators have made budget presentations over the past three school board meetings based on how things would look without the district labor unions re-negotiating their contracts. The salary give-backs have been in the works for a while, so that meant working on multiple plans.
"There were more plans than I would know what to do with," Van Wynen said. "We worked on this for a very long time."
Van Wynen said he will also present revised estimates of what the district's budget deficits will look like the next four years, with the contract re-negotiations figured in. Though many programs and teachers' jobs were saved by the agreements, that may only be a temporary reprieve with some version of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed two percent tax levy cap likely to be in place in time for 2012-13 budgets. More cuts in state aid are also possible.
"Unfortunately, it’s a one-year save," Van Wynen said. "You don’t know what’s happening next year. We do have savings from the teachers coming next year as well, which will help us. We don’t know what’s going to happen in Albany. In particular, we don’t know what’s going to happen with tax levy cap. It is going to be there in some form.
"Personally, I think there are going to be exceptions. Just a two-percent straight cap would be devastating (over time)."
The Pearl River Board of Education has stuck by the promise to keep annual tax levy increases below three percent, so the increase in the proposal presented tonight will be between two and three percent.
The board will also hear a recommendation from the transportation committee that may save the district money during Tuesday's meeting.