Press-Republican

Education

March 18, 2013

PCSD searching for $1.3 million savings

PERU — Peru Central School is struggling to reduce $1.3 million from its 2013-14 spending plan.

District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Brimstein will present the School Board with recommended reductions at its next meeting; however, he said at this week’s meeting, “I’m not at the number I need to be at.”

In addition to cutting costs, PCSD has also proposed using $1.3 million in reserves to bridge its budget gap, which is a result of restricted revenues, increasing state mandates and rising expenses, Brimstein said.

Last month, Peru Central announced it anticipated receiving about $20,000 less state aid next school year than in 2012-13.

“We’re asked to do more, we’re given less, and our costs go up,” Brimstein said at the meeting.

The superintendent also noted that, though the school’s tax-levy limit was first calculated at 2.34 percent, an exclusion in the levy-limit formula related to rising costs of Teacher Retirement System contributions has allowed the district a limit of 4.32 percent.

Still, he said, “we have to determine what the community is willing to bear.”

SHARED COSTS

PCSD is committed to providing quality education at a sustainable cost, according to Brimstein, and is aggressively exploring ways to operate more efficiently, including trying to develop strategic partnerships.

For example, he noted, the district recently agreed to share maintenance costs for the Town of Peru’s fuel station — in exchange, school buses can gas up there. The town will charge less for fuel than the school pays now, and Peru Central will forgo maintenance to its own fuel facility.

The district is also considering offering an early-retirement incentive to eligible Civil Service Employee Association and Peru Association of Teachers members.

In addition, Brimstein said, PCSD is comprehensively reviewing its K through 12 programs, examining staffing needs and searching for opportunities to eliminate redundancies.

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