Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Horseheads School District Budget
Written By: Joe Melillo
Its budget season and area school district leaders are just starting to realize how bad the cuts could be this year.
Horseheads (WENY) - Its budget season and area school district leaders are just starting to realize how bad the cuts could be this year. Horseheads central school district board members met tonight for the first of three budget workshops. Horseheads Superintendent Ralph Marino says his district is facing an 8. 2 million dollar budget gap, and for the first time, the idea of closing facilities is on the chopping block.
Marino says that pension costs have gone up 35 percent in addition to rising health care costs. State aid is projected to only increase a little over one percent and the district doesn’t expect many retirements. All these factors add up to a $8.2 million budget gap. The board went over all their options tonight.
They include, offering retirement incentives or resignation incentives to teachers, using $4 million in reserves, and then increasing the tax levy by 6.5 percent. For the first time ever, the board talked about closing at least one school if that's what it takes.
“I have children in the system I have a daughter that graduated two years ago I have two boys who are in, this is very difficult to do. We'll get through it but its going to be very challenging and it's going to look very different,” says Marino.
Marino says the district has lost 121 positions over the past five years. Over the next few weeks the district fiance committee will look at all of the options and report back to the board at the next meeting on March 7th.