Amherst Regional School District would cut 12 full-time staff positions to meet budget gap

Last modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014
AMHERST — The Amherst Regional School District would cut the equivalent of 12 full-time staff positions next year as part of a plan to address an anticipated budget gap of nearly $400,000, under a proposed budget presented to the School Committee on Tuesday night.

The overall budget for the district would go up by 1.8 percent over this year’s budget for a total of $29,668,478. The gap represents the difference between available money and budget increases resulting from contractual obligations under existing contracts.

Besides staff reductions, which would save almost $426,000, the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 would also have cutbacks in some supplies as well as miscellaneous special education allocations for a total savings of $676,671.

The budget proposes increases of $87,200 in professional development and curriculum development as well as a $106,076 outlay for an intervention program for students with social and emotional struggles.

Superintendent Maria Geryk told the School Committee that a challenge in the years ahead will be to maintain programming while dealing with “dwindling enrollment and dwindling resources.”

She said there will be more detailed discussion of the proposed additions and reductions to the proposed budget at the next regional School Committee meeting on Feb. 11.

The School Committee is scheduled to vote March 11 on next year’s budget.

For about 90 minutes before the budget was unveiled, the committee discussed whether it should set a policy on life-threatening allergies as a response to the recent controversy over a ban on tree nuts in district schools. A motion to investigate whether a policy should be developed was approved 7-2.

Most of the discussion leading up to the vote centered on defining the authority of the School Committee and administration. The policy subcommittee will take up the issue at 5 p.m. today.