Additional cost-saving proposals include reductions in contracted services and materials, supplies and field-trip expenditures, as well as the reassignment of district secretarial staff and the relocation of a clerical secretary from the district office to the transportation department, where the position would be nearly 88 percent funded by state transportation aid.
Blair has also recommended reducing funding to the Harvard Model United Nations program and annual sixth-grade Outdoor Education trip, by $2,000 each.
"There are no good decisions in this budget — none," the interim superintendent said.
Blair told the Press-Republican he was awaiting responses from NCCS unions about whether they will take salary freezes to help close the district's remaining gap.
Any part of the deficit that is not bridged through contract re-negotiations, he said, would have to be made up with additional cuts.
Areas made vulnerable by the need for further reductions, Blair noted, include summer school, additional elective courses, athletics and the integrated classrooms, where content and special-education teachers assist students who need extra help.
"This has been the toughest budget I have ever done," Blair said at the meeting. "I've been up nights thinking about it."
The district's spending gap, he told the Press-Republican, is the result of the School Board opting to use $3 million in fund balance for each of its last four spending plans and not raising its tax levy.
For the upcoming school year, Blair has proposed applying $1.5 million in reserves and setting the levy at the district's limit of 2.75 percent.
However, he noted, only about $80,000 in fund balance would remain at the end of 2013-14.
"Next year is probably going to be a more difficult year than this year," Blair said at the meeting.
'TURNING ALL STONES'