The Southampton School District administration expects to be able to save nearly $500,000 in its upcoming budget by eliminating four positions through retirement, returning one administrator to a teaching position, and reducing expenses by replacing retiring teachers with new hires.
Superintendent Dr. J. Richard Boyes told the School Board on Tuesday night that the salary savings, along with another $300,000 in spending cuts, have brought the district’s tentative budget for 2012-13 to within $68,000 of complying with the state-mandated 2-percent maximum tax levy increase. Administrators presented board members with a list of other possible cuts that could be made to minor services and programs that could bridge the remaining gap.
“I think it’s outstanding to have gotten as low as we have,” Dr. Boyes said. “We’ve listed selected items that could be eliminated from the budget.” He said those items totaled $320,000, leaving the $68,000 balance, “so there are some choices.”
The staffing cuts include eliminating three teaching positions—a special education teacher, an occupational therapist and an elementary school math teacher—and the assistant special education director, who will return to a teaching position. Two of the retiring teachers were paid more than $110,000 per year, and their jobs will be eliminated entirely. The occupational therapist will be replaced with an outside contracted service, costing $65,000 per year, a savings of $15,000 for the district.
Three other retiring teachers, one being paid $120,000 per year, and another more than $90,000, are being replaced with teachers being paid about $60,000. Two other positions will also see cost reductions through replacements. The district is also eliminating three $17,000-per-year bus monitor positions. One will be left in the budget but is not expected to be filled.
The district has not released its complete proposed budget yet but is expected to do so on April 3 when the board must vote to adopt the budget and put it up for public review. The board will hold a special budget work session next Thursday, March 29, at the Southampton Intermediate School to discuss the budget again.