By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — School District administrators have identified about 12 positions that could be eliminated in order to pass a budget that will meet the requirements of the city's tax cap.
Business Administrator Ed Emond told members of the Budget and Personnel Committee last night that four of those spots could come from Woodland Heights Elementary School, saving the district $260,000. He said all four, plus one special education teacher, will come from retirements.
Emond and Superintendent Phil McCormack said class size would remain within acceptable standards or a maximum of 25 students per class for kindergarten through second grade and a maximum of 30 students for grades 3, 4 and 5. Despite an increase in the number of students needing special education services, McCormack said other special education teachers will take higher case loads.
Two teacher positions could be cut from the middle school, saving $130,000. These positions are also from retirements.
Administrators said there would be a total savings of $380,000 from the middle school, but most of that discussion happened in a nonpublic session because of the personnel issues involved. The district will reduce extracurricular and athletic offerings at the middle school level to save $15,000.
Four core-curriculum teacher positions could also be eliminated at the high school for a savings of about $300,000. Administrators declined to be more specific, saying the adjustments involved personnel matters and were not subject to open disclosure. Administrators are also targeting $20,000 in savings at the high school from extracurricular and athletic offerings.
Any cuts to extracurricular programming and athletics will be based on student participation as a factor of the cost of the program.
Administrators also said two grant positions funded through the SAU will be eliminated, saving $56,000.
With some reworking of other programming, administrators identified a total of $1,300,000 in the 2016-2017 district budget, which should make up for the $1,221,449 they think they will be short because of the lower amount of tax revenue in 2016-2017.
With no inflation, the school district expects to get an additional $358,000 from taxes based on the value of building permits or the increase in property valuation; however, the district needs an additional $1.2 million to continue with the programming and staffing levels it currently has.
The suggested cuts presented last night are the preliminary recommendations of the administration to the Budget and Personnel Committee. The proposal will be discussed by the entire School Board and changes may be made.
Emond said the district also needs some money to be able negotiate in good faith three new union contracts that will all expire June 30, 2016.
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