Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Response to State Budget Proposal

The downturn in our economy is forcing us to make some very difficult decisions as we head into the New Year. Through a reduction in State Aid and a take back in dollars by the Governor, the West Genesee Central School District is looking to close a $5.2 million dollar gap in spending for the 2009-2010 school year. It would be fiscally irresponsible of us to present a budget to the public that did not take into consideration the losses and hardships that many of our taxpayers and parents have faced or will face in the upcoming year.

In closing this gap, we looked to retain the culture that the West Genesee Central School District is recognized for – outstanding academic programs focused on student growth; and enriching, extracurricular offerings that provide for student learn-ing outside of the regular classroom. Through the ideas and efforts of all of our staff, we are able to reduce the $5.2 million gap to $1.2 million with reductions in supplies, equipment, contracted services, and use of reserves. Unfortunately the last $1.2 million will come through reduction in our workforce, in program reduction, and in some cases program elimination.

These reductions are being proposed across all areas of the organization including academics, fine arts, and athletics. In considering these changes, we are trying to make reductions that will have the least impact on the most children. It is important to note that West Genesee has the lowest cost per pupil in the area, so any adjustment is going to have an impact on what we can provide for our students.

We are confident that the results of our efforts will keep the District strong and forward thinking, and we are also hopeful that the budget we put forward will be responsible and have little, if any, additional impact on our taxpayers. We sincerely thank you for your continued support and trust as we head into these difficult times. More information about specific reductions will be available on our web site beginning February 1, 2009, and the budget will be discussed in detail at each of our Board of Education meetings between January and May.