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Saranac Lake Central cuts positions to balance budget

Tax levy increase stays within state limit

Saranac Lake High School

Saranac Lake High School Photo by Andy Flynn.

— •restructuring the bus garage staff after a retirement ($50,000);

•not replacing one district office clerical position ($35,000);

•reducing substitute teachers ($16,000);

•providing substance abuse prevention in-house ($46,000);

•making food service transfer reductions ($10,000);

•cutting the indoor track program ($9,000);

•revising the special education budget ($145,000);

•reducing in-house projects already budgeted ($50,000);

•and making additional payroll savings in the middle school ($9,000).

Objections

The district was originally going to cut the field trip budget by $20,000, but School Board member Esther Arlan was opposed to the idea.

“Many of our young people cannot get to museums, and their families can’t afford to drive to Albany or Burlington,” Arlan said. “It’s critical that we look at this ... field trips are educational, and I think they are important.”

In the end, board members decided that they would restore some of that field trip money and find savings elsewhere, according to Bower.

Arlan also asked about the Bloomingdale Elementary School librarian’s position, which was cut to part-time in the 2011-12 budget. At least one parent had asked the board publicly to restore the position to full-time.

Superintendent Goldman said there are currently three librarians in the school district: one full-time at the high school, one full-time at the middle school, and one full-time person who works at the Petrova and Bloomingdale elementary schools. Plus there are teaching assistants and aides in all the libraries.

“I think this has been a series of difficult choices, and I know that in a perfect world, we would love to have a full-time librarian in every one of our schools,” Goldman said. “But if you tell me you want to put a full-time librarian back at Bloomingdale, I’m going to say to you, ‘Tell me where I’m going to find the $50,000.’ If it sounds harsh, it’s the reality that I’m dealing with and that all the administrators are dealing with.”

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