By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PERU — Peru Central School Board has approved a budget for next school year that requires more than $1 million in reductions.
The $40,974,046 spending plan was unanimously adopted at a recent meeting and represents an increase of 1.19 percent over the district’s 2012-13 plan.
PCSD officials warned in March that they anticipated having to cut $1.3 million in costs, including the equivalent of 21.8 full-time positions, and apply $1.3 million in reserves to make ends meet in 2013-14.
However, the school was able to reduce its allocation of reserves to $400,000 and restore nearly $250,000 in potential cuts, thanks to additional state aid and participation by district personnel in a local retirement incentive.
BOLSTERING THE BALANCE
Peru Central Superintendent Dr. Patrick Brimstein told the Press-Republican that the school opted to use the lion’s share of the additional money to reduce its dependence on fund balance in an effort to close anticipated budget gaps in the future.
The school stands to receive about $600,000 more state aid next school year than was originally proposed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget. That translates to a 3.8 percent increase in state aid over the current year, according to Peru School Business Administrator Randy Sapp.
The spending plan eliminates 19.2 full-time positions, including the equivalent of one full-time clerical position, three elementary teachers, 3.4 secondary teachers, four teacher assistants, one custodial worker, two special-education teachers, one school psychologist, one teacher aide, one art/music teacher, 0.2 of a secondary health position and 1.6 Academic Intervention Services teachers.
However, Sapp noted, as a result of the early-retirement incentive, about 16.9 of those positions would be eliminated through attrition.
Being able to cut positions as individuals retire, Brimstein said, is a less painful way to make reductions and is less shocking to the school culture.
Some of the early retirees, Sapp added, will be replaced at lower salaries.
Though Peru Central officials initially proposed cutting the equivalent of 1.6 full-time library media specialists and one school nurse, those positions were restored in the board-adopted plan.
TAXES UP ALMOST 4%
The budget carries a tax-levy increase of 3.957 percent. The district’s allowable levy limit is 4.32 percent.
Peru Central will hold a public budget hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, in the Secondary School Community Room.
The spending plan will go up for public vote Tuesday, May 21.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org