Carmel School District forced to cut staff due to declining state aid

PATTERSON — A proposed budget-to-budget increase of 2.8 percent in the Carmel School District is not good enough in these trying economic times.

Years ago such a modest escalation would have been a coup for a school system the size of Carmel but with the uncertain economy and threatened reductions in state aid, administration and members of the Board of Education have been meeting regularly to reduce the budget even further. And the bad news is they are planning to cut a dozen or more positions.

Superintendent Dr. James Ryan reported Thursday based on Governor Paterson’s executive budget proposal, Carmel can expect a state aid cutback of more than $2.4 million for the 2009-2010 school year. “With a reduction on this scale, the 2.8 percent budget-to-budget increase was too excessive.”

Carmel’s budget-to-budget increases have been on a downward spiral since the 2006-2007 school year when the budget increase totaled 9.4 percent. The following year the number decreased to 5.9 percent and to 4.6 percent for the current school year.

After a series of meetings with his administrative team, Ryan said, “proposed reductions would bring the budget-to-budget increase to between 1.5 percent and two percent that represents the elimination of 12 to 15 positions district-wide.”

Dr. Ryan noted that “specific positions” were not yet known. The superintendent said additional information would be presented during a series of budget workshops that will take place next month.

Sessions are planned for March with additional discussion planned for April 14 when the school board adopts the budget. The budget vote is scheduled for May 19.

Dr. Ryan reiterated for the current school year, “Our district remains economically cautious. All purchases are being carefully scrutinized with strict control measures in place and remaining expenditures being closely monitored.”

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