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Waynesboro school board battles with budget issues

April 14, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Waynesboro Area School Board continues to grapple with an estimated $774,000 budget deficit, which has board members debating savings from reductions in personnel and programs for 2010-11.

Administrators and the board are already planning to not fill one elementary school position and one middle school position when teachers retire. Superintendent James Robertson said he was notified of a third retirement on Tuesday, but he has not determined whether that position can be left open.

Some board members pushed for further personnel reductions, saying the administration needs to accomplish more than $400,000 in savings in that area.

"There will be additional reductions in personnel, however we come about that," said board member Leland Lemley, who serves as chairman of the board's budget committee.

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Personnel reductions could preserve programs, Lemley said.

"I'm going to tell you we're not going to look at programs," he said.

"We can all agree on that," board member Pat Heefner said. "Programs would be the last."

Business Administrator Caroline Dean and the budget committee presented the board with a list of "discussion items" at the Tuesday meeting. Included were eliminating elementary Spanish, realigning some athletics, asking families to purchase supplies, enacting "pay-to-play" for sports and possibly clubs, eliminating Future Business Leaders of American field trips, forgoing LCD screens, cutting Saturday School, eliminating field trips, and asking students to buy their graduation caps and gowns.

The board, which started budget negotiations with a $1.7 million deficit, chose to not debate the discussion items until the personnel issues are worked out.

"There are additional positions not contingent on retirements," board member Firmadge Crutchfield said.

Lemley and Crutchfield shared concerns that drafts of the 2010-11 budget reflect no salary increase for teachers. That increase would be determined through ongoing contract negotiations.

Lemley said most of the administrators already rejected a request they forego their contracted salary increases for 2010-11.

The board must pass its final budget and submit it to the state by June 30. Revenues are anticipated to be about $50 million.

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