Tonawanda News


March 20, 2014

Tough times

Budget cuts raise ire of NT teachers


Tonawanda News — She also admonished tactics she said union members have used since March 11 during school hours, including wearing all black clothing on each of the last several Fridays that led to dozens of calls from parents. 

“We are $2 million in the red and that is going to cost jobs,” Osborn said. “While New York City is cutting equestrian riding lessons I’m cutting math and English.” 

Yet with more than 100 people packed inside the district’s meeting room, and more spilling out into a nearby hallway, High School Principal James Fisher cast a request by Superintendent Greg Woytila to shave $211,000 from his 2014-2015 budget as grim. 

Fisher, who emphasized that his presentation was to leave the board with options he does not support, said cuts to staff and programs during many of his first nine years as principal were at least justifiable because of slumping enrollment numbers that have leveled off district-wide to about 3,600 students, after plummeting from 4,000 several years ago.  

Among the potential scenarios proffered Wednesday evening by Fisher, were the elimination of more than 5 full-time staff positions, the combination of music programs, a further reduction of electives and the sizing down of courses in foreign language, English, math and architecture, among others. 

“Here we are, another difficult budget year,” he said. “Tough decision need to be made.” 

An initial budget proposal of $69.4 million is 5.59 percent or $3.67 million higher than the current fiscal year, though is likely to be amended during the next month.  

A public forum on a finalized budget will be held May 13, a week before residents head to the polls on May 20. 

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