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S-GI budget proposes staff reductions

COLDEN—Staff reductions are being proposed in the 2017-18 Springville-Griffith Institute budget.  

The budget reduces staff by 4.5 instructional personnel, including a full time science and English Language Arts teacher. The budget is proposed at $36,841,911, with a tax levy of $15.894,853.

Joe Karb, an eighth grade social studies teacher and president of the Springville Faculty Association spoke out against the layoffs during the March 13 Board of Education meeting.

“I have deep concerns … as a middle school teacher,” Karb said. “Cutting academic staff won’t help.”

Superintendent Kimberly Moritz said she does not take layoffs lightly, but has spoke to the middle school administrative staff – both former and current – and feels the school can survive without the “split team.”

“It’s never easy to lay-off people, particularly good people,” Moritz said.

The split team is comprised of teachers who teach at the seventh and eighth grade levels, as needed. Moritz explained that she spoke with the outgoing administration at the middle school, as well as current principal Shanda DuClon, who all agreed the school can do without the team. She also noted the members of the split team are also the least senior members on the staff.

The district is proposing a budget decrease of $881,429, due in part to a reduction in debt services. S-GI paid off a bond for work done to the district, which caused a $1,390,000 variance for the bond principal.

The decrease, which is 2.34 percent of the budget, outlines $1,070,489 in debt services and $592,140 in BOCES services. The contractual increases account for $685,697 and other incidental increases the budget by $95,503.

The $15,894,853 tax levy is an increase of $393,892 over last year’s levy. Business Official Maureen Lee said the increase will help keep the district under the tax cap.

Lee said the budget is not set in stone, and a lot of the variances seen in the proposal are a result in “trueing up” the numbers.

“The budget is just an estimate,” she said. “This is my best guess.”

General support, instruction and debt services are all set to see a decrease in this year’s budget. Pupil transportation, employee benefits and interfund transfers are all increasing.

Lee explained that there are some budget lines that were not previously listed where they should have been. She spent a lot of time reorganizing the lines, which makes some lines look like there is more fluctuation with the budget numbers than there really is.

“You’ll never see this wild of variances in the future,” she said.

Teachers’ salaries show a total decrease of $62,045 – which Lee said is due to her “trueing up” the budget lines.

The board approved a resolution to put-to-vote the purchasing of school buses and similar vehicles, not to exceed $925,000. Voters will have the option to approve the purchase of seven full-sized passenger buses, two 16 passenger buses, two minivan-type vehicles and one wheelchair-type bus.

The board has to vote to adopt the budget by April 21, though it’s anticipated they will vote April 3, a public hearing will be on May 8. District residents can vote on the budget May 16, voters can register May 11. The budget presentations can be viewed on the district’s website, SpringvilleGI.org.

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