Question: I have a few questions and thoughts.
(1) I would like to see the teachers contribute more to their health benefits. They have very good insurance.
(2) Could the district treasurer take on the duties of the tax collector? What are their salaries? Is the tax collector a part-time position?
(3) What is the state mandate regarding the number of psychologists per student and social workers per student?
(4) The budget for the media center staff seems very high. How many teachers and TAs are there?
There is no question in my mind that reductions must be made and I understand, at least to a degree, how difficult these decisions are.
Answer: I'll take your questions one at a time:
(1) The teachers made concessions on health insurance last year. It's a negotiable item that will be considered when their contract expires in 2012.
(2) Our understanding is that general municipality laws require a separation of those duties. The tax collector is a part-time position, and that person makes just over $3,000 a year.
(3) There is no state mandate regarding any staff-to-student ratio for those positions. However, there is a mandate that schools have to use certified psychologists to issue assessments to students when determining eligibility for special education services. At Broadalbin-Perth, each school psychologist has a case load of about 120 students. The need for social workers is driven solely by need: Students whose individual education program (IEP) includes counseling services must be provided with those services according to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975.
(4) Last year, we eliminated two full-time media center specialist, which saved us well in excess of $100,000 in salaries and benefits. Media center instruction is mandated by state education law, which says that the maximum number of students that can be served by one media center specialist is 700 -- and we are dangerously close to that number. This year we have one media center specialist and one teaching assistant at each site (Broadalbin and Perth); at each site, the media center specialist and TA serve approximately 1,000 students.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent
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