Whitesboro Superintendent: 'it's been a challenge'
WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - While many suburban local school districts have not endured the depth of cuts that the city of Utica School District has, they're still suffering tiny scrapes, and suburban superintendents say that hurts, too. "We have not had sweeping cuts to this point in a lot of those programs, but we've started to nick away at the edges and unfortunately, once you lose those programs, they typically don't come back," says Whitesboro School Superintendent Dave Langone. Whitesboro's roughly $57 million budget calls for the loss of seven teachers, two custodians, one clerical position, two bus drivers and one half of a psychologist and social worker. "We've experienced, as everybody, a loss in state aid over the past four years that really has been kind of devastating to school districts, especially considering that the requirements are increasing," says Langone. As far as the school budget vote one week from Tuesday, Langone is hopeful for passage, but history has taught him not to expect a landslide. "We're a district that typically gets about 800-1,000 'no' votes and it's been a challenge. Even though we've been successful in passing budgets, we don't pass them at a high rate of difference between yes and no votes," says Langone, who adds that two 'no' votes would spell disaster for the district, specifically for the children it serves. "If you put up a budget again and there's a second 'no' vote, then you have to go to a zero percent tax levy increase for the following year and that would devastate our programs. It would devastate the children that we serve," Langone said. The proposed school budget in Whitesboro raises operating spending less than one percent. The proposed tax levy increase is 3.85%, which would raise the taxes on a $100,000 home roughly $100 a year if the homeowner takes part in the STAR program.