main content starts hereDistrict faces $900,000 gap as board gets first look at budget picture

| January 26, 2018

Mohonasen Central School District currently faces a $900,000 gap in planning for the 2018-19 school budget.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Chris Ruberti said that much of the shortfall can be attributed to anticipated hikes in health insurance costs ($650,000) and Teacher Retirement System (TRS) contributions ($250,000).

The district expects to receive approximately $250,000 in additional state aid as well as an increase of about $640,000 based on the district’s preliminary tax levy limit calculation. However, this additional revenue is almost entirely offset by the projected increases in health insurance and TRS expenses, Ruberti said in a presentation during the Board of Education’s Jan. 22 meeting.

Most of the remaining additions in the budget, approximately $900,000, are due to contractual salary increases and other insurance costs, including liability, auto and workers’ compensation, Ruberti said.

Ruberti said the district will continue to look for ways to close the gap with an eye toward maintaining programs and minimizing the financial impact on taxpayers.

He noted that between 2009 and 2015, the district eliminated nearly 80 district-wide positions. About half of those positions have been added back in the last three years, along with additional staff to address needs created with the opening of the Center for Advanced Technology at Mohonasen.

“The positions that have been added over the past few years have addressed significant programmatic needs, such as, the creation of positions for math and literacy coaches at the elementary level, as well as reducing class sizes,” said Ruberti. “We need to look strategically at how we can offset some of the gap while maintaining the educational structure. Ultimately, if the gap is not reduced by additional state aid, which is highly unlikely, it will mean that there will need to be reductions in staff. ”

Ruberti said that historically, the district has looked first at reducing through attrition and possibly some creative staffing shifts, however,  that will only help to address a small portion of the deficit.

“Our goal is to not lose the momentum we have gained by adding back staff,” said Ruberti. “As always, we’ll take a multi-year approach in looking at the budget and try to be balanced in our recommendations to the board of education.”

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