February 17, 2011

Layoff Projections: Predicting the Pain

Source: NYSUT Communications

The following is glance at the potential cuts in student services, academic programs and jobs that may occur in school districts statewide, as projected by district officials, should the Executive Budget proposal stand to slash $1.5 billion in education aid.

All information is based on media reports.

STATEWIDE

The state School Boards Association estimates that passage of the governor's proposed $1.5 billion school-aid cut would result in the loss of up to 13,000 education jobs statewide. That's on top of the 10,000-plus teaching and school-related jobs lost this year due to budget cuts.

WESTERN NEW YORK

Buffalo's city school system is considering layoffs and building closures.

Increased class sizes in grades two through six, eliminating support staff and scaling back on maintenance and equipment costs are all options under review in the Williamsville school district as officials there eye a possible cut of $1.8 million in aid.

Nearby in Niagara-Wheatfield, in Niagara County, they are poised to lose nearly 18 percent of their school aid under the governor's proposed budget. Superintendent Carl Militello said if that proposed cut is allowed to stand, the district would "eliminate just about every single program other than what is required.'

In the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, which is facing a $6 million budget gap, state aid to the district would drop by $1.4 million under the governor's proposed spending plan. As a result, officials are reviewing all non-mandated programs for possible elimination, including kindergarten, gifted and talented programs, electives, co-curricular activities, as well as increasing class sizes.

Down the road from Orchard Park in Hamburg, the school district there may slash up to 26 full-time positions. Programs aimed at preparing students for making their way in the world post graduation, such as courses dealing with financial literacy and life skills, are being eyed for elimination by the district which is expecting a $1.4 million aid cut and $4 million deficit.

State budget cuts also may force the Cheektowaga Central School District near Buffalo is considering closing one of its two elementary schools - a move that also may result in staff cuts, officials there said.

The Fredonia School District, which is operating already under a contingency budget this year, stands to lose almost 15 percent of its state aid under the executive Budget's proposed cuts. Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said the district is "running out of ways to decrease spending or generate revenue' and added that as many rooms as possible are being rented out in the district's school buildings.

ROCHESTER REGION

Rochester City School officials are projecting the loss of up to 800 positions, and anticipate a deficit as high as $82 million.

The Gates Chili Central School District outside of Rochester is eyeing increased class sizes, program cuts and layoffs to deal with their aid loss under the governor's proposed plan. These cuts would come on the heels of a school closure and 100 staff cuts implemented this year in the district to deal with current budget constraints.
Nearly 80 teaching jobs may be cut in the Corning-Painted Post school district, where state aid reductions under the Cuomo plan would total $1.5 million. Officials said cuts could include the elimination of all secondary teaching assistants, as well as 64 middle and high school teachers, and 13 elementary school teachers. The district is also eyeing the possible closure of an early childhood center.

SYRACUSE REGION

In Syracuse, where more than 500 teaching and school-related jobs may be eliminated. The Syracuse City School District is contending with a $47 million budget gap. Even if the district's aid remains flat, 425 jobs may be cut. But should Cuomo's plan to slash $14 million in school aid to the city stand, job cut numbers would rise to at least 539. They would include
165 teachers,156 teaching assistants, and 15 administrators and supervisors.
And officials in the Auburn City School District say they expect to cut staff, increase class size and raise taxes to make up for a projected funding loss of $4.3 million.

CAPITAL REGION

The Albany City School District - which may be facing a budget gap of more than $10 million and could lose $4 million in aid - is looking at the possible loss of 120 positions if Cuomo's budget is approved. Those cuts would come on the heels of the 200 positions eliminated over the last two years.

The North Colonie school district, as part of its battle to deal with budget constraints, is looking to close an Maplewood Elementary School - a move that would necessitate the relocation of more than 100 students.

The Enlarged City School District of Troy, facing a budget gap of $8.5 million - is considering the closure of two elementary schools to cope with the financial crunch posed by the governor's proposed funding cuts.

Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson, whose district would lose more than $2 million in aid if Cuomo's proposed cuts stand, said: "I feel very sad for the kids in the B-P district… With this kind of cut, it's the kids and programs that are going to suffer.'

Officials in the Ballston Spa Central School District, who are now grappling with a projected $3 million budget gap, expect staff cuts to be unavoidable and teachers have been notified by the district's Human Resources department via letter of their "seniority rank.'

Mounting budget pressures in the Schenectady County school district of Schalmont have prompted officials to recommend the closure of two elementary schools - leaving only one exisiting in the school system.

LOWER HUDSON VALLEY REGION

The Kingston City School District is projecting at least 43 job cuts, including 28 teachers, 14 support staff and one administrator. Elementary school class sizes would range between 28 to 30, pushing them “to the limit,” said Superintendent Gerard Gretzinger. - 2.17.2011

In Warwick, Orange County, the district was already projecting up to 70 job cuts along with the shuttering of an elementary school. District officials have said if Cuomo's proposal passes, even deeper cuts will be necessary.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Port Jervis, up to 40 positions may be eliminated.

East Ramapo School District in Rockland County's, which would see their state aid cut by 10 percent under the Cuomo proposal, may eliminate up to 80 positions. Those layoffs would come on the heels of the 188 positions cut over the last two years.

The Yonkers school district, which eliminated 416 positions this year, is slated to lose $17.5 million in state aid if Cuomo's plan is approved. As such, the district may have to eliminate its prekindergarten program that now serves 1,629 children.

The Poughkeepsie school district is contemplating a host of program and personnel cuts to deal with an expected $9 million budget gap - actions that it's superintendent said will - quote – "be extremely detrimental to the future quality" of education in the city. The district may cut 90 positions, eliminate an alternative education program cut funding to non-varsity sports and make its full-day kindergarten program half-day.

NYC/LONG ISLAND

The governor's proposed education cuts, if passed, could mean the loss of at least 6,000 teachers in New York City. The Executive Budget proposes a cut of $580 million from New York City schools, raising concerns that 20-percent of the city's teachers will be terminated. Of those 6,000 positions, some 4,666 will be layoffs and the remainder would be made up of positions going unfilled.

District officials in the Sachem school district on Long Island have informed 450 employees - including 375 teachers – that their jobs may be eliminated due state-aid cuts. That would account for 30 percent of the district's work force. The district stands to lose $16 million under the Executive Budget proposal.

Staff and program cuts are also expected in Westbury on Long Island in order to make up for the expected loss of state aid there.

And 35 teachers in the Center Moriches Union Free School District on Long Island have been told by the superintendent there that they could lose their jobs as a result of proposed aid cuts.

Also on Long Island, 80 teachers in Central Islip have been told they could lose their jobs. The same message was delivered to 65 teachers in Herricks, and 53 teachers in Amityville. Seventeen teachers in Jericho were also notified their jobs may be eliminated. [2.17.2011]

PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION

The State University of New York system is facing a 10 percent cut under the governor’s proposed budget, totaling roughly $685 million. Purchase College President Thomas Schwarz described the continuing trend of damaging, annual SUNY budget cuts this way in an interview with The Journal News: “It's an old form of torture, putting a wet rope around your neck and slowly torturing you." Schwarz said if Cumo’s budget proposal stands, faculty cuts may be necessary, making it difficult for students  to get all the classes they need in four years. "That would mean delayed graduation," he said. Meanwhile, the state’s community colleges, — seen as having a vital role in New York’s economic recovery and which provide essential training to displaced workers statewide — may be forced to raise tuition costs, putting higher education out of reach for many New York residents. Also, the governor’s proposed Medicaid cuts are expected to have a devstatig impact on SUNY’s teaching hospitals. [2.17.2011]