Ticonderoga Central School District voters approved a 2013-14 $18.5 million budget that cut employees and academic programs in May. Two months later, all programs and most staff have been reinstated.
continued “I appreciate the teacher association’s willingness to continue talking after the budget process had concluded,” McDonald said. “I feel very good about this. We’ve been through some tough times, but the school board and teachers have always worked together for our kids and school.”
Facing a $540,000 budget gap this spring, the Ticonderoga Central School board of education was forced to make tough decisions. To reach the state-mandated tax cap the budget cut full-time math, science, English and teacher aide positions. It also cut 4.5 teaching assistant jobs. Half-time computer aide, English and physical education positions were eliminated. It reduced full-time English and foreign language jobs to half time. Other positions in guidance, home and careers, music, art, business, technology, English and math were cut by 20 percent as was a social worker job. Also eliminated was a librarian position. That person retired and will not be replaced.
McDonald stressed the school board did not routinely reinstate the jobs. The board looked at graduation requirements, enrollment projections and community input in making its decision.
Non-instructional employees will get a 3.5 percent pay raise this academic year and 3 percent raises the following three years.
McDonald said the new union agreements and earlier actions by the board of education have positioned the district well for the future.
“The past few years we’ve started our budget process with deficits ranging from $1-$2 million,” McDonald said. “That won’t be the case going forward. Looking at very conservative state aid and tax numbers we feel we’re in real good shape to stay within the 2 percent tax cap going forward. Barring some catastrophe on the state or national level, we’re out of the woods.
“I’m excited about the school year coming up,” he added. “Our kids will have all the programs they’ve had in the past. We’re pretty much in tact.”
Smith said teachers are also excited about the future.
“I’ve seen the (district budget) projections,” Smith said. “They’re using very conservative numbers and I’m hopeful these challenging times are behind us. We have a great school and Ti teachers want to be certain it stays that way.”