Liverpool (WSYR-TV) -- With mounting pressure from the state to produce high test scores, Liverpool schools faced the new year with a projected $9-million budget gap.
"I definitely feel bad for the teachers, because they have a lot on their plate and they have to do a lot with less,” said parent Bonnie Krisak.
Parents and teachers watched closely as Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns presented his budget proposal for the 2013-2014 fiscal year on Monday. He offered a plan to use much of the district's reserves to avoid cutting up to 100 positions.
"We've cut and we've cut and we've cut and I really feel like we are at the wall,” said Dr. Johns.
Dr. Johns joins a chorus of superintendents across the state singing the same tune, blaming major financial woes on the Gap Elimination Adjustment, signed by then-Governor David Paterson in 2010. The plan helped the state fill its own budget gap by dividing the shortfall among schools across New York.
According to Dr. Johns, millions of dollars in state aid has been withheld from the Liverpool Central School District each year under the Gap Elimination Adjustment.
School Year: Aid Withheld
- 2010-2011: $ 9,936,712
- 2011-2012: $10,333,341
- 2012-2013: $ 9,070,615
- 2013-2014: $ 8,363,808
Based on school aid formulas, Liverpool's share of the sacrifice has already resulted in over 200 layoffs throughout the district since the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
For the 2013-2014 budget, Dr. Johns has avoided major cuts by relying heavily on "rainy day" funds.
"It is definitely raining," Dr. Johns told the crowd gathered at his budget presentation.
With rising costs for teacher retirements and the 2 percent tax cap, Dr. Johns says reserves will only keep Liverpool afloat one more year.
"Hopefully we won't have to do it, but if we do have to make another round of cuts, it is going to be in programs,” Dr. Johns continued.
Elizabeth Griffin, a mother of three young children, sat in the audience at the budget presentation, hoping the state and school leaders with find a solution fast.
"We have great minds in our school districts. We should really be exercising those minds to the fullest to figure out....everyone has a budget. Every home has a budget and you figure it out. You have to make it happen,” said Griffin.