Budget proposal maintains status quo: no cuts, no restorationsWhen we first began developing the 2014-15 school budget earlier this year, the Board of Education and I anticipated having to find a way to close a six-figure budget gap based on state aid projections within the governor’s proposed executive budget.
Faced with an $860,000 deficit, I braced for yet another round of difficult, if not impossible, fiscal choices—continued downsizing of staff and/or further reductions in non-mandated programs and services—while remaining mindful of student needs and community concerns. With a program that is arguably bare bones now, I was dreading the decisions that would need to be made.
Thanks to some widespread advocacy efforts made by concerned stakeholders from school districts across the state—including our own—legislators took notice and injected some additional aid for education in their state budget proposals. As a result, once the state’s budget was finalized on April 1, it included an increase in school aid, which put Watervliet in a fairly better position than we had originally expected and will spare us from having to make cuts to staff or programs in 2014-15.
Still, after four consecutive years of reductions in aid, this increase does not afford any restorations to programs or opportunities for students that have been reduced or eliminated, nor does it allow us to replenish any of the 25 positions that have been reduced in recent years.
Given the fiscal struggles we have faced during the past several budget cycles, however, being able to maintain the status quo is a welcome reprieve.