3 teachers could be cut in Fredonia budget plan

Three teachers and other cuts were proposed by Business Administrator John Forbes at the Fredonia Board of Education Budget Retreat Tuesday.

At the start of the meeting, the board entered into executive session to discuss specific personnel. The executive session lasted more than an hour and a half.

The board entered back into public session and heard proposed reductions to the budget by Forbes.

As of the last budget draft the district was more than $490,000 over the tax cap.

“As of the last budget draft, to reach the cap we needed to reduce over $490,000 or use a combination of fund balance,” Forbes said.

Since that draft, he said the district has been able to realize some savings from the retirement of a custodian.

He made a total of 41 recommended cuts which included the reduction of three positions to be negotiated with the Fredonia Teacher’s Association, postponement of maintenance equipment purchases and textbook purchases, as well as reductions based on spending to substitutes salaries, attorney services, National Grid services, overtime, real property tax refunds, parking lot and roofing repairs and carpet replacement.

He said there would also be a significant savings in special education, partially due to several students graduating this year and also by bringing two students back to the district campus from BOCES, as was suggested by Special Education Director Kristen Ferro.

He pointed out some of the reductions in turn come with expenditures that must be added back into the budget.

He said if the district chose to make all of the suggested cuts, it would be $99,000 below the tax cap. However, the district has not resolved the cost of transportation for the new Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, so that will need to be adjusted for later.

He said the total proposed budget based on these reductions would be $28,751,529, a 2.98 percent increase. The tax levy would be $15,790,000, a 2.99 percent increase.

He remarked this is well below the 3.36 percent tax cap for the district and reminded the board it is using $1.3 million of fund balance in the budget. He said it will be hard to sustain that level for a long period of time.

He added the tax implications for this proposed budget based on last years’ equalization rate will mean a $3.29 per $1,000 assessed value increase for Pomfret and $2.58 per $1,000 assessed value increase for Sheridan.

The board had no questions at the time of the meeting, but will have time to review the proposed cuts before the meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in high school room 636.