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18 Teacher Cuts Possible for Kings Park Schools

Increasing retirement costs for teachers and administrators, loss of state aid play role in $2.2 million gap.

Teacher cuts and larger class sizes are being considered as Kings Park school administrators struggle to close a $2.2 million dollar budget gap for the 2013-14 school year.

Kings Park District Superintendent Susan Agruso laid out a worst-case scenario of cutting 18 teachers if aid is not restored from the state.

“We’ve cut all the other stuff,” said District Superintendent Susan Agruso referring to the past years budget cuts. “Now we are looking at staff.”

Instructional salaries and benefits make up the largest part of the district's budget at 53 percent of the overall breakdown. The biggest increase in expenses the district is facing is a $1.7 million increase in retirement costs for teachers and administration, which Agruso has said is the “big chunk of why we are in this budget crisis right now.” Agruso said that number increased from what was originally anticipated.

Step increases for teacher salaries also play a role. "This is the second biggest expense, which goes up $1.1 million just for step increases.”

A first look at cuts shows the elimination of eight elementary teaching positions, four of which are due to declining enrollment. At the secondary level, cuts being considered include 1.0 in math, 1.1 in science, 1.0 in social studies, 1.0 ELA, 1.6 in  PE, 1.4 in music and.8 in art and possibly an additional 2.1 positions at the secondary level.

Agruso is hoping that the $600,000 in state aid will be restored. “We were expecting extra money, but what we got so far is less,” she said.

A rollover budget with a 3.5 percent tax levy increase, while still under the mandated tax levy cap, still leaves the district with a $2.2 million gap.

The board of education also weighed the possibility of cutting an advanced placement computer science course, which students and staff came out to support saving.

The board said they would like to see the class remain, but would have to see if aid would be restored in April.

“It’s a function of money,” said board president Marie Goldstein, who favored keeping the class intact. “We have to balance this.”

The next budget workshop will be held on Monday evening at 7:30 at the high school.

knee jerk March 18, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Carol Hankin is waiting in the woods if the price is right. She'd jump to Kings Park from Syosset in a heartbeat for "a few dollars more".
knee jerk March 18, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Seniority is just a form of "featherbedding".
knee jerk March 18, 2013 at 05:01 AM
Because school teachers are the cheapest of the cheap. None of them will ever voluntarily take a cut in pay to either do the right thing by the taxpayers or the younger untenured teachers. Just like the cops, if any cuts are to happen it will be only for the new hires, never for those already on the job.This creates friction among the workforce and is probably about as spineless a thing that they could do.Its "I got mine and will continue to get mine, if you want any cuts get em from somebody else".
unknownauthor March 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM
I got very upsetting info about board member Elizabeth Barrett speaking and emailing inappropriate info as a BOE member. I posted pics above. This is going on far too long and the public must know. Financial aid for our taxes could be in jeopardy and federal programs FERPA too. And word there was a fundraiser for her legal defense fund. Outrageous.
unknownauthor March 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM
The pics posted about wrongdoings by Elizabeth Barrett are removed. I guess I'll have my wife go hand them out in the Dans Keyfoord village.

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