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Edwards-Knox eyes budget cuts

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RUSSELL — Faced with a roughly $800,000 budget gap, the Edwards-Knox Central School Board is considering eliminating some sports, summer band, three teaching assistant jobs and a variety of other items.

The district’s school board has already identified $271,598 worth of cuts from the proposed 2014-15 budget and meets again Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. to continue number crunching before adopting a spending plan.

School Board President Randy R. VanBrocklin said that like other north country school districts, Edwards-Knox is faced with increasing expenses and inadequate state aid funding.

Preserving programs that most directly impact students is a top priority, he said.

“This board doesn’t want to make cuts,” Mr. VanBrocklin said. “Everything we do, we consider the impact on students. This school board is working really hard.”

The district will be receiving $511,318 more in state aid next school year, a 6 percent increase over this year, based on the state budget adopted this week. The figure does not include building aid.

The first round of cuts totaled $271,598. The largest savings came from cutting a business teacher, $72,501; reducing a Spanish teacher to part time for a $38,977 savings, and reducing the agriculture teaching position to half time for $40,329 cost savings, a special education teacher, $38,400 and a teaching assistant, $29,089.

A list of 30 items are identified on the second round of cuts that will be reviewed Tuesday by the board. The cuts total $287,975 and are listed on the school’s website.

They include swimming, golf, junior varsity cheerleading, summer band, and fifth- and sixth-grade basketball, distance learning and driver’s education.

Job cuts include reducing the librarian job to half time, eliminating a part-time Spanish position, three teacher assistant jobs, an interpreter job and a math coach.

Voters will head to the polls May 20 to vote on the 2014-15 budget and fill two, five-year term school board seats.

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