As discussed at the March 9 Board of Education meeting, the district faces a significant budget gap for next year. The reason for this is that revenue (state aid and property taxes) are not keeping pace with projected expenditures. Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., said there are only two real options for closing the gap: increasing the tax levy and/or reducing expenses.
The shortfall with a tax levy increase at this district’s tax levy limit of 2.15 percent next year is approximately $2.8 million. Given the magnitude of the gap, Dr. Tangorra said addressing it requires consideration of a higher-than-usual tax levy increase next year and budget reductions.
To reduce expenses, the district is looking to realize some savings through attrition and exploring a retirement incentive. While workforce reductions are a last resort, it’s clear that they will be necessary.
In providing a status report at the March 24 meeting, Dr. Tangorra said that in its current form, the budget calls for a tax levy increase of 4.57 percent and includes the reduction of the full-time equivalent of 20 positions. Reducing the levy from this amount will involve more positions.
The positions and programs involved have not been identified yet. At the next Board meeting on April 7, the superintendent will outline potential reductions at different tax levy scenarios for more discussion and consideration.
“It’s heartbreaking for our schools, community and colleagues to have to consider reducing positions,” Dr. Tangorra said. “In a time of so much uncertainty, we have a responsibility to balance all of the factors involved: the need to provide a quality, future-focused program, the concerns of our taxpayers, and keeping our focus on sustainability. We have a responsibility to make the best decisions we can, and we will.”