February 12, 2013 | 802 views
Major cuts in store for Valley Stream high schools
More than 20 positions, three sports teams on chopping block
Cutting 15 full-time teaching positions, six support staff members and three sports teams are some of the ways the Valley Stream Central High School District is proposing to slash about $2.5 million from its budget in order to stay within the state tax levy cap.
The Board of Education held its monthly committee meeting on Feb. 5 to discuss the 2013-14 budget, and district administrators laid out a proposal to make the necessary cuts.
New York state school districts are beginning the second budget cycle under the tax cap, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in June 2011 and which took effect last January. A school board has the option of adopting a budget that exceeds the district’s cap, but it must be approved by a supermajority of at least 60 percent of voters — a route the board does not plan to take.
Dr. Wayne Loper, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said that keeping all programs and services intact next year would mean a budget of nearly $109 million and a tax levy increase of 6.31 percent. Factoring in Cuomo’s proposed state aid figures, which were released last month, Loper has calculated that the district’s maximum allowable tax levy is 3.06 percent. The proposed spending plan totals $106.17 million.
Originally, Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich was anticipating cuts totaling around $2.65 million, but the district would likely be able to save some programs through other savings, specifically in the area of transportation. Board members agreed to reduce transportation costs by changing the way some private-school students get to class. About 90 students who attend Chaminade High School, Crescent School and Sacred Heart Academy would be provided with MetroCards for MTA transportation instead of a yellow bus, which would save the district approximately $120,000, Loper said.
According to Heidenreich, the MTA now has new routing and scheduling that allows the three schools to meet its criteria for public transportation. The district has used MTA transportation for years, and is providing MetroCards to 57 non-public-school students this year.