Tonawanda News

Local News

March 28, 2013

NT budget gets a boost

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda schools will get an increase of approximately $350,000 in state funding that will likely stave off a budgetary shortfall and potentially save several jobs slated for the chopping block under a proposal being considered by the Board of Education. 

The New York state budget, released this week, tipped an increase of $1 billion for school districts statewide for a total of $21.2 billion across the board. 

In talks earlier this month the district was looking to eliminate a $1 million shortfall as part of a $66,655,756 budget through attrition and staff and program cuts. 

But despite that scenario, the North Tonawanda school board was still looking at a $103,000 gap to make up, according to Assistant Superintendent Alan Getter. 

Yet, with the announcement of an increase in state funding, many of those issues may now fall by the wayside, according to Superintendent Greg Woytila. 

"Assuming that it all comes through, this would take away from the shortfall and they'd be able to put a couple of positions back," Woytila said. 

While he said the final estimate, based off a formulaic process, is still being tweaked as the district tries to surmise how much of the state increase would be wrapped into expenditures related to a $50 million capital project completed in 2011, a rough estimate calculated by his administration would open up $350,000. 

"We just have a bit more tinkering to do," Woytila said. "The formula sometimes puts it into building aid and we still don't have all the details, but that is our best estimate." 

Among the things that could be saved are five elementary teachers, two high school teachers and several elective classes at the high school.

Districts across the state also continue to await a 12.5 percent cap on retirement costs likely to win approval in the state Legislature as soon as next week, which could add further budgetary benefits, according to Woytila. 

"It's been a good week," Woytila said. "We'll know more in eight to 10 days." 

The Board of Education will continue budget talks in two weeks. A finalized version will be brought to the public for a vote on May 21. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.

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