For the third year in a row Liverpool Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns painted a grim picture of the district's budget woes. Liverpool has been hit hard by cuts in state aid and is now limited by a 2% property tax cap. Johns said Liverpool's current budget gap is $8,644,097 and described 2012-2013 as the most difficult budget year Liverpool has ever dealt with.
"I've never had a budget like this. The cumulative effect of three budgets in a row where we're working with budgets that are really diminishing - it's just a back breaker," said Johns.
Johns proposed a series of cuts including almost $4 million in personnel costs. 54 staff positions across the district could be eliminated but Johns said he hopes some of those will be covered by retirement and attrition. Johns also proposed using up almost all of the districts remaining reserves and fund balance to help get through this one tough year. The district currently has approximately $1.7 million in reserves for retirement and Workers Compensation costs and close to one million in the fund balance account.
Several parents came out to Johns' budget proposal meeting to advocate for Liverpool's nationally recognized music program. Many of the parents said they knew tough cuts would have to be made but hoped the pain would be spread evenly across the district.
"We don't mind cuts but we want to make sure they are level and even and fair. Just to make sure they're not going after any certain program," said marching band supporter John Bertolero.
The school board will review and consider changes to the budget for the next month before voters can weigh in. The final vote is scheduled for May 15th.