Rye City School District Superintendent Frank Alvarez’s 2013-2014 proposed $75,593,200 budget would save $2 million by cutting staff, although he did not say how many jobs may be lost. The proposed budget would raise the tax levy by 3.04 percent and represents a 2.74 percent increase over the 2012-2013 budget of $73,580,000.
The proposal intends to use $2.3 million from the districts fund balance in order to reduce taxes as well.
The district focused on keeping reductions away from programs that directly impact students, according to the superintendent’s presentation. The proposal would not change the current curriculum or impact programming.
However, the state-mandated two percent tax cap and increasing health care, salary and benefit costs force the district to make hard decisions, school officials said.
"This is sobering for all of us here and to the community that in the superintendent's budget there are $2 million in the line item in (full time) staff reductions in order to meet our obligation to the tax cap," school board president Laura Slack said. Slack added that without mandate relief the tax cap, forces the district to make staff reductions.
In addition to the $2.1 million the proposal would save by cutting staff, the district would also save $30,000 by switching from oil to gas heat at the middle and high schools, $20,000 by renegotiating its lease for administrative offices, and $168,000 by refinancing existing debt. The district would spend less on technology and facilities and special education under the budget proposal. Officials will continue to explore efforts to share and/or consolidate services with other districts and/or governments, according to the presentaton.
The district may negotiate further savings when they sign new contracts with five union groups whose contracts expire in June, 2013. They are currently continuing collective bargaining agreements with the five groups.
Budget conversations will continue at the February 26 and March 5 Board of Education Meetings; and at the March 19 meeting, an Open Topics Forum will be held during which the Board will meet with groups in the audience.
View the budget presentation here.