As part of budget presentations conducted during recent school board meetings, Superintendent Michael Wetherbee addressed the instructional portion of the budget Tuesday night.

As part of the budget presentations conducted during recent school board meetings, Wayland-Cohocton Superintendent Michael Wetherbee addressed the instructional portion of the budget during Tuesday night’s meeting.


Wetherbee informed the board of what next year’s budget would look like if no cuts were made.


Before he did, he first mentioned that sixth grade is anticipated to be reduced by one section and that enrollment overall is expected to go down slightly, by roughly 30 students.


When he got to the staffing portion of the budget, question marks dotted the 2012-13 year.


With a $1 million deficit, and 80 percent of the budget spent on staffing, layoffs are inevitable. But exactly how much and where is yet to be determined.


Wetherbee stated that the overall instructional budget is increasing in two areas – salaries (mostly in changes to insurance) and private tuition to specialized schools, i.e. for the blind and deaf.


He went on to say that the tuition is a strategy to shift the state’s cash-flow problem to schools.


Tuition for special educational schools are now paid for by school districts and are reimbursed by the state. But the district hasn’t seen last year’s reimbursement yet for its four students who go to Rochester School for the Deaf.


“Right at the time we have no money, they’re taking money from us. So we’re going to get it, but it does create a cash flow problem for us.”


On a lighter note, Wetherbee talked about BOCES expenditures. The local share is 24 cents on the dollar. The rest is covered by the state.


“For the services you get for your students, it’s really a good bargain because they never would have those opportunities [otherwise],” he said.


The total 2012-13 draft budget is a $1.1 million or 4.15 percent increase over this year, “and that’s not sustainable,” Wetherbee said.


The budget to budget increase in state aid is $168,235.


Wetherbee reiterated the goal of the board, which is to present a balanced budget to voters in May while preserving as much student opportunities as possible.


But when staffing is the largest portion of the budget’s expenditures, “the only way to close that side of the gap is to lower that side of the budget. We have to reduce our expenditures, we have no other choice.”


The next budget presentation will take place March 12, and will discuss the district’s options at closing this gap.