Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 7, 2013

Falls school officials look at tax hike


Niagara Gazette — Still, Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said indications she's been given show both appear likely in the near horizon, in time to prevent the district from making costly reductions from staff and programing.

"The governor and the legislators promised they'd have a budget done by March 28, which is ahead of the April 1 deadline," she said. "I think scenario A" — the best-case scenario — "is the most likely. There's been no indication anyone's going to buck what the governor proposed ... and we've heard there could be a resolution of the casino issue could be soon."

Even though there's a tax increase in the plans, there's a healthy dose of cuts in the district's best-case to accompany it. About $2 million would need to be eliminated from this year's spending, with more than $1 million coming from pulling Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services programs back into the district's buildings.

Officials are also proposing cutting the equivalent of five full-time teachers — though none would actually lose a job, Bianco said — and one administrator, who is retiring.

But, assuming the worst case and none of the district's solutions are realized, the picture becomes a lot more bleak. Gone would be the district's funding of summer school, as would modified sports, as it tries to close a $5.5 million gap. The district would also cut 26.5 teacher positions – which would include layoffs – and 35.1 total people.

"We're not likely to do (the worst case)," Bianco said. "But we have them just in case. We do have a plan just in case."

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