Commack school officials laid out a school-by-school break down of where they propose cutting 40 teaching positions in the latest budget update.
Superintendent Donald James has recommended a $170.4 million budget for the 2012-13 school year, or 2.6 percent tax levy, requiring roughly $4.5 million in cuts. Under the proposed budget, the district would lay off roughly 40-60 teachers, one administrator, two secretaries, six custodians and still need to make an additional $700,000 in cuts to programs.
Adele Pecora-Dusanenko, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, laid out where 37.89 teachers and three teaching assistants will be cut from, school-by-school at the March 29 budget workshop.
The largest proposed staffing cuts will affect Commack's elementary schools, with 17.24 teacher and staff reductions. The proposed staffing calls for the elimination of four kindergarten teachers, three second and fourth-grade teachers, and one teacher each in first and third grade. Other cuts will be made in to special areas, arts, music, physical education and the library based on reductions to the number of class sections.
Pecora-Dusanenko said some of the staffing reductions in the younger grades, especially kindergarten, can be attributed to decreasing student enrollment. Commack Union-Free School District's overall enrollment is expected to drop by 150 to 200 students for the 2012-13 school year.
The largest increase in class sizes will be within the kindergarten classes, currently at 20.8 students this year projected to jump to 23 students for the 2012-13 school year. The second largest class size will be among third graders, from an average of 23.4 this year to a projected 24.9 students per classroom.
School officials proposed to cut 10.1 teaching positions from , with an estimated six positions being eliminated due to shrinking enrollment according to Pecora-Dusanenko.
The largest cuts at the middle school level will be to world languages, physical education and science classes. The areas of ESL, guidance, library, nurses, psychologists, special education, nurses and social workers will not be affected by the cuts.
At , the proposed $170 million budget calls for the eliminated of 10.53 teaching positions. The areas facing the largest staff cuts are: 1.9 science teachers, 1.3 music teachers, 1.2 in art, 1.2 in world languages and one business teacher.
Commack school district will be receiving some additional state aid for 2012-13 school year, as New York State Budget was finalized this week, according to district spokeswoman Brenda Lentsch. The exact amount and plans for this funding are expected to be shared at Thursday night's meeting.
James has repeatedly said at prior budget workshops that his recommendations for additional funds would be to restore some of the staffing cuts, particularly towards teachers.
The Board of Education and school officials are in negotiations with many of the district's unions after t
"We are negotiating every contract we can in effort to find savings and save programs. To manage to maintain programs is the ultimate goal. That matter of striking a balance is what we are in now," James said.
If the district was to proposed a 4.1 percent budget its allowed under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax cap, James said the district may be able to save approximately 13 of the teaching positions currently on the chopping block.
Commack school officials and the Board of Education will hold an informal budget hearing 8 p.m. Thursday, April 5 at Commack High School.