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The Telegram
  • Mohawk school board considers layoffs

  • Under a revised spending plan, the Mohawk Central School District will eliminate several staffing positions and reduce some services and activities but with far less of an impact on its taxpayers.

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  • Under a revised spending plan, the Mohawk Central School District will eliminate several staffing positions and reduce some services and activities but with far less of an impact on its taxpayers.
      Business Manager Chuck Mower said the revised budget proposal is $14,571,712 with a tax levy increase of 3.79 percent. The estimated tax levy will be $3,690,429 under this plan, an increase of $134,742. Mower did not have available the numbers of how much this would affect a per $1,000 of assessed value, but said taxpayers could expect about a 3.79 percent increase in their tax bill.
      This revised proposal is $710,089 less than the budget proposal announced by the district earlier this year that included a possible 32 percent tax rate increase. This plan was just to maintain the current services within the school district. 
      “What we’ve done is reduce the spending plan and made some other revenue adjustments,” said Mower.
      Nine staffing positions will be eliminated under this plan, saving approximately $600,000. Four of the positions will be from retirements, effective June 30, that will not be filled. Those positions are a high school social studies teacher, an elementary school librarian, an elementary school reading teacher and an elementary school classroom teacher. The same will happen when a special education teacher’s resignation.
      Four other teaching positions will be eliminated through layoffs. Mower and Superintendent Joyce Caputo would not elaborate on which positions are being considered.
      Mower also said they have reduced some BOCES services, which would include special education and physical therapy services. He also said they have reduced some sports and extracurricular activities. Mower said they are not sure how these cuts will be made. 
      “We haven’t pinned it down completely at this time,” said Mower. “We’re probably going to eliminate one co-ed sport and the number of contests.”
      He said the total saved from these reduced services is about $110,000.
      Caputo said they have had to consider cuts to staff and services with the budget numbers they faced earlier this year, especially from the state. Mower said about 70 percent of their revenue is from the state - about $10 million. About 25 percent of the revenues are from the tax levy and about 5 percent from miscellaneous funds.
      “It’s been a very difficult budget year for school districts and for the boards of education,” she said, adding she hopes the state legislature will come through and help them out in aid. Caputo said since they have their own deadlines to meet, the board asked their administrators to review where the minimal impact could be made without affecting the quality of education.
      “Please remember that reducing our staff is not what we wanted to do,” she said. “It’s something we’re being forced to do.”
      The school board will hold a special board meeting April 12 to vote on the budget so it can be reviewed in time by the state education department. It will then go to the public referendum on May 18. 
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