School district eyes fewer cuts


Some Rome school district teacher positions that were part of reductions for the proposed 2019-20 district budget would be reinstated based on additional state financial aid being provided, according to Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

Among them would be 10 elementary reading positions, seven elementary AIS (academic intervention services) math positions, and seven elementary classroom positions, Blake said in his blog Sunday on the district website.

In addition, Blake referred to reinstating five elementary library media specialist positions, plus 75 percent of the modified sports budget along with 75 percent of the secondary clubs and after-school activities budget.

“What 75 percent of those items will look like next year, remains to be seen,” Blake commented. “It is possible that they can operate very closely to 75 percent of the current funding level, but that will depend on possible concessions by those operating those programs.”

The decisions on reinstatements were connected to “the additional revenue brought in from the approved state budget,” Blake said. The 2019-20 state budget, approved last week, includes about $1.5 million more for the Rome district in the core Foundation Aid category compared to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s January proposal, and about $2.2 million in that category than 2018-19 overall.

For the Rome school district’s proposed 2019-20 budget of $114.67 million, Blake two weeks ago had proposed about $10.1 million in reductions to help balance the spending plan. Among them were 47 AIS positions, eight elementary teacher positions, and seven elementary librarians. Blake overall proposed about 115 reductions in staff positions through attrition and potential layoffs. Also, among various other proposed reductions were all modified sports, at a savings of $249,312, and after-school clubs and activities, at a savings of $160,000.

The Board of Education is in the midst of reviewing the 2019-20 district budget plan, and is to adopt a proposed budget by April 23 that would be subject to final approval by district voters in the May 21 election.

“During the week of spring break, we will be releasing another video blog on the budget for the community prior to the Board of Education adoption of the proposed budget on April 23,” Blake said. He previously had posted a video blog on March 6 with a detailed presentation on the status of the proposed budget at that time, including several visual slides. Spring break for the school district begins Friday, and continues through April 22 with classes resuming April 23.


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