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TENSE MOMENTS. Middle School Science Teachers
Peter Treasure (right) and Brie Stratton (center) listen
to the North Rose-Wolcott board's discussion about staff
cuts. Stratton was affected, with her job being halved.

By John Addyman

   NORTH ROSE (APR 12 11) – By a 5-2 vote tonight, the North Rose-Wolcott school board adopted a $25.57 million budget that will be set before the voters for approval on May 17.
   To pay for that budget, the board okayed moving $600,000 out of its reserve funds, raising the tax levy 2.9%, and making cuts that sliced 15 staff positions from the payroll.
   Board Members Kelly Ferrente and John Boogaard voted against the budget, both requesting that more discussion take place about the specifics of staff cuts. Business Manager Bob Magin pointed out that the budget amount won’t change, but how the district gets to that $25.57 million can be modified within line categories.
     Magin said the school district had heard from the state once the Albany budget was passed, and the aid spigot was opened again briefly – to the tune of $113,000. “But some other areas changed,” he added. “Some things went up and some went down.” In the end, NR-W realized a net gain in funding of $72,000.
   He said the original charge from the district’s budget committee was to use $475,000 from the fund reserves and raise the tax levy by 4.9%. But now, he felt confident in using a little more of the reserves and asking for a bit less of a tax bite -- $600,000 from the reserves and the 2.9% tax increase.
   The reserves being tapped include the workers’ compensation fund, the retirement reserve, and the unemployment insurance reserve.
   Magin also reported an update in the staffing cuts which now amount to 2.5 special education teachers, 0.5 phys ed teacher, two high school teaching assistants, two elementary teaching assistants, one high school English teacher, 0.5 science teacher, 0.5 high school assistant principal, 0.5 technology director, 0.5 athletic director, and position losses generated by the closing of Florentine Hendrick School this summer – one elementary principal, one cleaner, one psychologist, one nurse, one clerk/typist.
   “We’re taking a little more out of reserves,” said Schools Superintendent John Walker. He explained that the district’s expected savings in moving special ed classes from BOCES to NR-W hadn’t completely panned out because the district was not equipped to provide the best situation for some children.
   He reminded everyone that the district had brought in a budget with $1.4 million in reduced costs. “Governor Cuomo said we should be using our reserves judiciously, and we are. The 2.9% tax increase is very well within the range of what is happening in other districts. It’s a really reasonable number. The 2.9% pays our bills. We have some reserves we are touching.
   “There is pain here for people: that’s obvious,” Walker summed up.
   “I’m really perplexed,” said Boogaard. He said the budget committee agreed on a 4.5% tax increase. “I’ve got to say, this needs to be looked at again. We should take a hard look at the staffing cuts and decide what’s really important.”
   Boogaard mentioned the science position that was being halved. Students and one teacher had spoken up during the meeting, asking that the position be saved and teacher Brie Stratton remain in it.
   “Why should we have all these cuts?” asked Boogaard, noting that, suddenly, the cuts remained but more money was coming out of the reserve funds “just like that,” and some teaching positions had been added to buck up the elementary literacy program.
   Board Member Bob Cahoon said it is the role of the school board to approve a budget and for the administration’s responsibility to then staff the program appropriately. Board Member Ed Magin said he would vote to pass the budget, but added, “I have to be comfortable with it.”
   “I don’t think the staffing (configuration) is the same as the board has seen before,” argued Boogaard. “This is great for the literacy program, but other programs are not being addressed.”
   Board President Kari Durham also noted that the board hires administrators for their competence. “I can’t question every principal and say, ‘Are you sure?’”
   As soon as the vote had been taken to adopt the budget. Ed Magin again said, “We still want to have a discussion on how some of these cuts have been made.”


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    NRW board fails again(reflecting the failures of the district)! Mrs. Stratton, a bright light, who guides and inspires all of her students, has been made halftime. She has 100% passing by her students on the Science regents, possibly a 1st for NRW. This board either loves failure, or doesn't know success when it's under their nose! Look again, and check for "deadwood" in other areas in the district as I'm sure it's there, and probably has been for a long time. Be brave, and break the Peter Principle at NRW. An NRW taxpayer

    Posted on Wed Apr 13, 04:36:00 PM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    It is easy to say but, cuts hurt anywhere...Sounds like they did their best to save her job.
    How quickly we should point the finger. Maybe sports is the area of cutting.

    Maybe the solution is not cutting any school faculty or programs we should demand why education is always on the butcher block to our politcal leaders.
    It also always the students that have potential that have the cuts as gov. mandates force the majority of eduation funds to go to the lowest potentials.(uncutable faculty)

    Posted on Wed Apr 13, 05:29:00 PM EDT


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