Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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April 7, 2014

Budget might reduce staff

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In its current form, the Lockport City School District’s 2014-15 budget would keep the property tax levy below the district’s cap, but could also feature a smaller staff.

As Board of Education members learned at a presentation Wednesday, the proposed budget calls for cutting six positions by not filling spots that are to be vacated through retirements at the end of this school year. Board members are scheduled to adopt the budget next Wednesday.

“I’m directing Mrs. Bradley to go back and produce savings that would eliminate any staffing reductions,” board President John A. Linderman said, referring to Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley.

Bradley said after the meeting she was unsure if reductions could be avoided.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to recover all of it. We might get a third or a half,” Bradley said.

By not filling the six positions Lockport would save $716,886 in salary and benefit costs. That was the biggest portion of the $1.27 million in cuts made since January in the amount the district was projected to spend in 2014-15 to maintain the status quo of staff and programs. The positions that would go unfilled include two secondary teachers, one in math and the other in social studies, along with an elementary library media specialist and three teacher’s aides.

The district has a total of 16 expected retirements, but 10 of the positions will be replaced. A technology and “languages other than English” teachers will be reduced to part-time.

Either way, the district’s budget isn’t a done deal yet. Board members will adopt one next Wednesday and district residents will vote on it May 20.

“It has not been finalized,” Linderman said. “It’s a work in process.”

What’s known is that the $86.3 million budget that would raise the tax levy by the district’s cap of 2.26 percent, or $797,503 to just over $36 million. The state is giving just under $1 million back in aid through a Gap Elimination Adjustment restoration, for a total aid amount of $42.9 million.

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