3/04/2010Posted by MJ
Lockport City Schools will close an elementary school and “re-purpose” another, Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said Wednesday. The schools are just two of the many cuts the district will have to make in order to create a budget in these economic times, Carbone said. Other cuts include the reduction of 40 positions — including 23 layoffs — districtwide, the elimination of summer school, reductions in materials and supplies, the loss of the Early Start and summer reading programs, as well as after-school programs....
...Even with $4 million in cuts laid out, the district may need to raise its tax levy by as much as 10 percent to plug a $7.9 million hole. The district faces a $3.9 million cut in state aid as rollover operating costs jump by $4 million....The big question that remains to be asked and reported on is what exactly makes up the $4 million increase in operating costs? Why can they not be paused like has been done in the private sector to maintain viability? And if the budget is so dire why are they adding a pre-K next year? What are the biggest cost centers? What will have the biggest effect on closing the gap? Closing the schools is saving a wopping 1.3% of the the 77 million (soon to be 81 million?) budget or 15% of the needed reduction.
This is painful,” Carbone said. “It doesn’t help anybody. But if someone else out in the community has an idea of how to come up with $4 million, I would be glad to entertain any ideas.”...Also, word is no meetings yet with the city on plausible reuses though they are expected in the future. The feasibility of reusing the structure should be a factor in the closure though it seems it may not be.
...The rest of the cuts Carbone recommended Wednesday:
• Of 40 positions minimum that must be eliminated, 14 will be retirements. The rest will come from layoffs, and the figure of 40 will swell as the budget is finalized.
• The district will end its summer school program for all grade levels, requiring students to cover their own costs for BOCES summer programs in Niagara Falls or Medina.
• After-school and academic intervention programs for K through grade 8 and summer reading offerings for all grade levels will be eliminated.
• Materials and supplies will be reduced by 30 percent.
• E-mails sent by the administration to elementary library media specialists indicate those five positions will be cut. Other nonmandated programs, including art and music, may also face cuts.
The School Board may take action on the budget at Wednesday’s meeting. With a large turnout expected, the meeting has been moved to North Park Middle School’s auditorium, where the public portion is scheduled for 7 p. m