Broadalbin-Perth is in the middle of another difficult budget year in which tough decisions must be made. At this time last year, district administrators and the Board of Education informed the public that staff cuts would be likely in order to offset rising costs of operations and reduce the local tax levy. One full-time administrator position and four full-time teaching positions were eliminated at the end of the 2008-09 school year.
This year, B-P is facing the same situation. Employee compensation is by far the largest portion of the district’s budget. Rising costs of health insurance and employee retirement plans combined with the possibility of reduced state aid have forced the district to once again consider staff cuts.
Last year, district leaders heard conflicting messages from different groups in the community. One group said, “Don’t cut programs (i.e., teachers).” Another group said, “Don’t raise taxes.” And yet another group said, “Don’t cut programs OR raise taxes.” However, the unfortunate reality is that we can’t have things both ways: The district can’t maintain existing programs without raising taxes, and it can’t minimize tax levy increases without cutting programs.
In your opinion, what balance should the district seek between saving programs (teachers) and minimizing tax levy increases? How many staff cuts are too many? How high of a tax levy increase is too high? What do you think the community’s response would be to these questions?
- If the district decided to make instructional staff cuts, each teaching position that was eliminated would save the district approximately $60,000, on average. If the district chose not to replace a retiring teacher, it would save approximately $100,000.
- If the district did not eliminate any positions, district leaders estimate that the 2010-11 tax levy increase would be approximately 15.5%. The district can reduce the tax levy increase by 1% for every $95,000 it cuts from the budget.
- Note: Although district leaders are considering non-instructional positions for elimination, and the district anticipates at least two retirements, the average cost savings for eliminating teaching positions was used for the sake of consistency in the chart provided to Roundtable participants (click here and see page 2 of the PDF to view the chart).