“The deficit is worse than even I thought,” Saitta said. “The estimates we initially had was $4 to $5 million. It is in the $7 million area. State revenue is not growing like it should be almost two years into an economic recovery.”
Monday night at the meeting of the Board of Trustees, Superintendent Dr. Henry Hunt presented a list of possible cuts to help balance the budget. Hunt’s recommendations received a mixed reaction from board members.
“The district administration needs to come to grips with the idea that we are facing a long-term budget problem due to low revenue growth,” Saitta said. “Their proposal of a short-term fix like 5 and 10 day furloughs will not solve the long-term budget problem. The district needs to make more permanent cuts to the budget to put it in balance once and for all. So we don’t have to face a deficit year after year and worry employees 24-7 about next year’s upcoming deficit.”
Saitta said that one of his priorities is to avoid cutting teaching positions.
“I was disappointed by the district recommendation to eliminate 22 more classroom teaching positions, when so many other non-classroom areas still can be cut,” Saitta said. “Gosh some of our core classes already have 32 and 33 students in them. Plus I heard it with my own ears at the January meeting that a majority of the board members told the administration it didn’t want classroom teaching positions eliminated again this year. “
Saitta also has problems with the district proposed to cut classroom supplies another 25 percent and taking away the teacher $250 supply card.
“The district proposed cutting only 1 person from the district wide organization (departments outside of the schools),” Saitta said. “Since 2006, enrollment is down by 200 students. Yet the district wide organization is up by 22 employees. The number of administrators will be up by 6. I would look to eliminate some of those district wide or administrator positions before I eliminated any teaching positions.”