The Orange Board of Finance accepted the Board of Education’s $20 million proposed budget in March. Three teacher positions will be eliminated. The district added six teachers for this current year, but estimates it will need three fewer for the 2016-17 school year. Administrator salaries will see a 3.94% increase as teacher salaries will go up .6%. The district is budgeting for 1,099 students next year, down from 1,111 this year.
“That’s the challenge we face,” said Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti. “We have no way of predicting where students are coming from and what grades they’ll be in. Historically, the numbers have increased at the start of the year and throughout the year.”
The district is seeing a decrease in special education costs, but also an expected $283,000 decrease in funding from the state. Transportation of special education children is expected to rise by almost $70,000 next year. “All children are entitled to education. The state recognizes that and sometimes that translates to extra costs,” said district Business Administrator Mary-Jo Sierakowski.
“We think it’s important that every child have a device,” said Scarpetti. The budget includes $67,000 for 520 leased Chrome Books. The technology budget overall is seeing a 15.7% decrease. Utilities are also expected to see a decrease from $394,984 to $334,919.
Board of Finance member Jim Leahy explained that revenues to the town in general are expected to be down for the next fiscal year. “We have $529,000 less revenue coming in and there are three ways to manage that: reduce spending, bond it or put it all in taxes,” he said. The town is choosing to reduce spending.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent