Over the past three years, the Union-Endicott School District has made more than 100 positions cuts, as well as many athletic programs and clubs. But as our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, U-E's 2013-2014 proposed budget is offering a bit of hope.
ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- After surviving three years worth of major job cuts, the Union-Endicott School District has been working hard to find a solution.
"Just last year alone 50 positions, year before the 42, and the year before that another up in the 12-13 number. These are positions that have not come back, these are positions that replaced, that’s challenging to everyone,” said Dr. Suzanne McLeod, Union-Endicott Superintendent.
The good news heading into the 2013-2014 school year is that U-E’s proposed $73.5 million budget does not cut any positions. The spending plan was presented to the public Monday night, with a 3.66 percent property tax increase.
"Until there is some significant mandate relief or changes in state aid, you can only maintain for so long and that’s the challenge of working under a tax levy limit,” said McLeod.
Educators say despite being able to keep current positions filled, students are still missing a lot.
"It is just maintaining what is in place this year. Its’ not restoring the 104 positions that have been cut over the last 3 years. It’s not adding back in the 25 percent in cuts we've had to make in extracurriculars or in our athletics programs,” said McLeod. “It is not adding back in the extra help after school we were able to give our elementary and middle school students in order to help them better achieve literacy and math skills. This is still a bare bones budget.”
Some parents say they think the district is doing everything it can to ensure students and staff won’t have to go without too much more.
"We all need to work hard to trim the fat, take away things besides the opportunities for our kids that are so vital. But not taking away anything this year, that’s awesome. If we could bring some things back to them I’d be ecstatic,” said Amy Winans, West Endicott Resident.
With a proposed budget in hand, educators say they’re hoping to hear good news from legislatures and the governor soon, so schools can have an easier year ahead.
Another budget workshop will be held on March 27th. There will be a public hearing on May 14th, voting will be on May 21st.