The Herricks Board of Education went over its draft of the 2013-2014 school budget during Thursday night’s board of education meeting at the community center and has included projections for the next additional four years.
Before the budget discussion began, Superintendent Dr. John Bierwirth said that he wanted to have a respectful conversation about the budget because even if a budget item doesn’t seem important to one person or their family, it is important to someone in the district. He added that any of the so called “recommendations” that he was making as to potential changes and cuts aren’t things that he wants to do as he would prefer to maintain all of the programs.
“It is something we have to do in order to get the budget under the tax cap,” Dr. Bierwirth said. “Everything in the budget is important to someone.”
Assistant Superintendent of Business Helen Costigan said that the district anticipates it will get an next year. This additional potential money wasn’t factored into the budget presentation because the district didn’t know about this potential money until earlier that week. So the district anticipated it needed to cut approximately $3.2 million to be under the tax cap, but that did not include the state aid increase.
The health insurance increase for 2013 is 6 percent, according to the budget presentation. The employee retirement contribution to the teachers’ retirement system (TRS) is slated to go from this year’s 11.84 percent of their salary to 15.5 percent to 16.5 percent of their salary.
Some of the so-called “recommendations” for the 2013-14 budget include:
- Cutting nine teaching positions on the middle school and high school level that is projected to save $1,125,000
- Reducing eight teaching positions on the elementary level with a potential savings of $1 million.
- Getting rid of the seventh grade teams
- Ending the Boston trip because given the cuts in personnel, it will be more difficult to staff this trip well and give it the attention it needs, Dr. Bierwirth explained. Potential savings: $25,500.
- Having a two-year course toration for some classes at the high school, meaning that a class might be offered every other year.
- Cutting the high school drama production (although the musical will be maintained). Potential savings: $13,886.
- Cutting two Gemini positions.
- Ending intramural programs. Potential savings: $152,977.
- Reorganizing the music program throughout the district. Potential savings: $162,500.
There were also some other potentially “risky” changes that Dr. Bierwirth said the district can consider. Among them is not setting aside money for the sewer tax, since the district has not ever been asked to pay this. This would save the district $125,000.
Parents posed suggestions to potentially maintain programs such as Gemini and intramurals.