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December 09, 2016
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Sullivan West budget proposed; board speculates on the price of diesel fuel

To keep the budget within the cap this year, Hilton and Lorraine Poston of the business administration office recommended a couple of cost-saving measures, including doing away with all but essential field trips. This would save $38,000 and bring in the field trips cost to about $7,000. Some members of the board, however, were reluctant to cut the trips so deeply. Board member John Regerro said for some students the field trips represent their only exposure to the arts.

It was noted that Poston had boosted her estimation of the cost of diesel fuel for the coming year from $4.80 a gallon to $5. Board member Daley said that every dime in cost increase represented about $17,000 in cost to the district, and if the estimated cost were reduced to be $4.90, then $17,000 could be added to the field trip budget. The consensus of the board was to change the estimated cost of diesel.

In another cost-saving move, Hilton recommended eliminating 5.1 full-time equivalent positions, about half of them through retirement or re-assignment. The involuntary lay-offs would include a part-time certified librarian for the elementary school, who would be replaced by a teaching assistant, which would allow the library to remain open for the entire school day. Several teachers said that this seemed unfair in light of the fact that no one from any of the sports programs were being cut.

On a separate matter, Hilton noted that even with the proposed cuts, class sizes would remain the same or in some cases be a bit smaller than this year, due to the declining student population. He also noted there were no cuts programs related to art, music, drama, college credits and special education.