Mohonasen school board adopts $42.9M school budget that cuts 19 teachers
ROTTERDAM Mohonasen Central School District residents would see about a 2.5 percent tax increase under a budget plan adopted Monday by the Board of Education.
The $42.9 million spending plan, which is $183,000 more than this year, would cut 34.5 full-time equivalent positions, including 19 teachers, four teaching assistants, nine support staff and 2.5 administrative positions.
As many as 59 full-time positions had been targeted for elimination under an earlier proposal that had called for no increase in the tax levy.
However, the district received about $400,000 in additional state aid and the four labor unions agreed to partial salary freezes and other concessions to save positions.
Superintendent Kathleen Spring said she is proud of the employees. “Everybody in this district stepped up to the plate,” she said.
The teachers will not receive a step or salary increase through Feb. 1 of next year, which will save the district about $377,000. In addition, they gave back two professional development days, saving $80,000. The concessions restored about six full-time equivalent position, according to district spokeswoman Adrienne Leon.
The support staff gave back one day’s pay, which saved $20,000 and restored a typist position. The administrators, directors and supervisors froze their salaries through Jan. 1 to save $50,000 and about three-quarters of a teaching job.
Mohonasen Teachers’ Association President Maria Pacheco also praised her colleagues.
“It should not go unnoticed the personal sacrifice that each union member has made in support of a well-rounded Mohonasen education,” she said.
Positions still cut include six elementary teaching positions, a physical education teacher, technology teacher and librarian. There are also reductions in staffing for art, family and consumer science, business, math, English, reading, science, social studies, guidance, social work, French, Spanish and English as a second language and special education.
The support staff positions include two health office assistants, four teaching assistants, one teacher aide, five bus aides and one monitor.
Spring noted that the four teaching assistant jobs were being covered by long-term substitutes and not permanent employees.
Administrative positions to be cut are a vacant director of technology position, a math coordinator and chairperson for the Committee on Special Education.
“It’s still painful to lose any positions, but I think people know we struggled with this and did our best job,” Spring said.
School officials will continue lobbying legislators for equitable school funding and Spring is planning to meet with other local superintendents after budget season to share ideas.
Two of the teaching positions that were restored will allow the district to create another section of either kindergarten, first or second grade at Bradt Primary School and another one of third, fourth or fifth grade at Pinewood Intermediate School, depending on enrollment, Spring said.
The third teacher will be an academic intervention specialist splitting time between Pinewood and Draper Middle School.
The final tax rates will not be set until August. The Rotterdam tax rate is projected to go up from $15.19 to $15.57 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which would be an increase of $57 for a home assessed at $150,000.
The Guilderland rate is projected to go from $17.86 to $18.31 and the Colonie rate is projected to go from $22.67 to $23.24, which would be an increase of $67 and $85, respectively, for a home assessed at $150,000. These projections are before any STAR or other exemptions.
Two candidates are seeking two seats on the Board of Education. Nancy del Prado is seeking re-election to a third term on the board. Incumbent Joe Salamone is not seeking re-election because he said it was time for some new blood after two terms.
Resident Mark Moran, who has been active in the Mohonasen budget advisory committee and school activities, is seeking the other seat. He has two children including a freshman at the high school.
Moran is program director for Stride Adaptive Sports, which provides sporting activities for disabled children.
Voters will head to the polls on May 17.