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Springville-Griffith Institute Board continues to review district’s annual budget

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute board took a closer look at the 2013-14 budget, during its meeting held Feb. 26.

In presenting the numbers for this year, Business Administrator Ted Welch said, “We want to sustain the current status of the district, while considering community conversation input. We want to maintain the three-year plan. Sustainability is certainly a goal, for the district.”

“We took a really deep cut, last year,” Superintendent Paul Connelly said. “We’re in a comfortable spot, right now, and it would be nice to maintain that.”

Adding on to information presented in a previous board meeting, Welch highlighted some features of the budget, including a proposed increase of $683,170 in general school salaries, overall, although that increase includes decreases of $100,546 and $19,000 in grades four – six and substitutes, respectively.

In the remainder of the general school budget, Welch proposed an overall decrease of $38,559, with the only increase penciled in for the BOCES program, which looks to go up to $526,656 from $501,003, from last year’s budget, for a difference of $25,653.

The library services are facing a cut of approximately $22,213. Aide salaries look to take a $10,862 cut, due to being budgeted “too high” last year, according to the school business administrator.

The highest percentage of cuts comes from books, which are listed at $18,930. This figure is among the expenses that the school can control, according to Welch.

The meeting focused on input that had previously been provided by the community, including what local residents have said they felt needs to be protected and what services may be expendable. The community consensus is that class sizes need to be preserved and that there are issues on room sizes. Connelly said that the situation is currently “very comfortable.”

The community has expressed its desire for the school to offer additional electives, to prepare students for college, as well as to promote foreign language learning.

Health services, instructional programs, music and physical education were also among the list of services that the community has also asked the board to maintain or improve.

Although foreign language was something that the community asked protection for, the consensus was that only one language should be offered. Connelly said that he did not see that alternative as an effective solution. “You’re still going to need four teachers; they just might not be teaching the same thing,” he said. “That’s just some food for thought.”

The length of school days was also scrutinized. Some community members suggested making the days or classes longer, but others said they felt that classes are long enough and that other solutions, such as running the elementary buses earlier, are not viable options. “Younger children are brighter, at that time of day,” said Board President Mel Williams, “but you’d be picking them up in the dark.”

The next step for the board’s budget will include board of education member feedback and direction. The same process will be looked at, during the March 26 meeting, before the budget is proposed on April 9 and then adopted, during the BOE meeting on April 23.

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The board will convene in the high school library media center, located at 290 Buffalo St. in Springville.
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