SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT RECOMMENDS ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRUCTURING AND BUDGET REDUCTIONS AT BOE MEETING
February 27, 2014 -- At Tuesday evening's Board of Education meeting, North Shore Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick recommended approximately $580,000 in cuts to the initial 2014-15 budget draft, that would bring the $97.1 million spending plan closer to being within the state imposed tax levy limit, with the most significant reductions coming about through administrative restructuring.
The Board, Dr. Melnick, and the approximately 12 people in the audience reviewed the first 27 of 49 pages in the budget booklet, which include, among other categories of expenditures, "Regular Instruction" and "Supervision of Instruction." As the remaining items are reviewed over the next two meetings and additional reductions are made, the Superintendent said, the result will be a spending plan that will be nearly $1 million less than the initial budget draft - about 2.3% greater than this year's budget, and low enough to stay within the tax levy limit.
With regard to the administrative changes, Dr. Melnick proposed that the secondary Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Humanities directorships be eliminated and replaced with "Lead Teacher" positions in both the Middle and High Schools in the four core subject areas - Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. The restructuring would result in approximately $250,000 in savings in salaries as the two directors' positions would have cost the district $325,000 next year, while the stipends paid to the Lead Teachers will total close to $80,000. There would also be savings in pension and benefits as a result of the change.
The positions had been created only two years ago in another restructuring, when the Science, Math, English, and Social Studies K-12 directorships were replaced by the elementary STEM, elementary Humanities, secondary STEM, and secondary Humanities positions.
In addition to the administrative changes, Dr. Melnick proposed cutting $230,000 from the budget draft for "regular instruction" which includes teachers' salaries, technology, test preparation materials, curriculum development, workshops and staff training, copier leases, salaries of teacher aides and substitute teachers, as well as other expenses.
Two teaching positions at Glen Head Elementary, the Superintendent announced, would be eliminated due to declining enrollment, with the school graduating five fifth grade classes in June and only three kindergarten classes entering in September. The savings in salaries will be about $180,000, he said. This is on top of a $200,000 reduction already in the salary line for Glen Head Elementary teachers - a result, he said, of senior faculty at the top of the salary scale retiring, and being replaced by younger teachers.
Dr. Melnick also recommended that the district spend less on test preparation next year than it is currently, by cutting $25,000 from the "district-wide test prep materials" budget line, which represents a 50% reduction from last year, and $50,000 from the 2012-13 school year, when the district had budgeted $75,000 for that purpose. The "mandated expenses" related to administering tests will remain the same as this year, however, with $15,000 being spent in each of the elementary schools, $20,000 at the Middle School, and $25,000 at the High School.
The amount budgeted for "regular instruction" from this year to next year, assuming Tuesday's evenings proposed changes to the budget draft are adopted, would increase from 30,339,915.84 to 31,022,831.95 - a rise of 2.25%.
Additionally, Dr. Melnick proposed trimming approximately $100,000 from the initial budget draft in the categories "Board of Education," "Central Administration," "Plant Maintenance," and "Central Services."
In total, after reviewing nearly half of next year's spending plan, approximately $580,000 in reductions were made.
Review of the remaining sections will continue on Thursday March 6 and Thursday March 20th, with the school board voting to adopt a budget on April 3. The proposal will then be put before voters on May 20.
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About $580,000 was cut from the proposal shown in the chart above. The greatest amount was approximately $325,000 from Supervision of Instruction.
BOE TO REVIEW 2014-15 BUDGET DRAFT; LOW INFLATION RATE WILL AFFECT LEVY LIMIT; STATE AID UNCLEAR (February 11, 2014)
BOARD NOTES - NORTH SHORE BOARD OF EDUCATION, JAN. 16, 2014