To attain this budget, the district applyed $500,000 of fund balance, leaving less than $200,000 in reserve.
“That’s pretty much the end of it. To be clear, we didn’t want to do that,” McGowan said. “But, as Albany seems to be unresponsive each year, giving no guidance to schools as to how to overcome mandated cost anomalies, we are at the end of the line. We’re down to looking for coins in the couch cushions.”
SPORTS, STAFF CUTS
The budget does make several spending cuts, including to junior varsity sports.
“We did eliminate a number of JV teams and went to a grade 7 through 9 modified program in softball, baseball, soccer and volleyball,” McGowan said
A vacated speech-improvement teaching position is not being filled.
“And we had a change in personnel in the director of special programming, leaving one open special-education teaching position not filled,” McGowan said.
“We cut some other items, also. We eliminated a transportation run from the busing program, but it puts the kindergarten kids on the buses with the high-school students, which is something we have tried to avoid in the past.”
There are no teaching retirements at Tupper Lake, but the district shed some 31 jobs three years ago.
“We did consolidate the superintendent and one principal’s position last year and into the first part of this year. For a year, that saved us $100,000,” McGowan said. “But it is not sustainable. We already run very lean in the business office. We get written up every year, in fact, for lack of redundancy in that office.”
He said cuts are not the solution.
“Our problem here is that this is a one-year push down the road. We haven’t fixed anything. The problem in schools like Tupper Lake is that we can’t cut our way out. Our problem is not expenses; our problem is revenue.”