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Cassadaga Valley eyes layoffs in coming year

Superintendent Chuck Leichner

SINCLAIRVILLE — If the proposed budget is passed and district residents vote yes, almost two dozen employees in the Cassadaga Central School District could be laid off.

Cassadaga Valley, like many schools across the state, has made budgetary reductions in their budget proposal to compensate for the lost funding from the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These budget reductions include decreasing the number of employees on school grounds. Twenty-one positions are in limbo as the public votes, via absentee ballot, on whether to pass the budget proposal or not.

The 21 positions potentially being cut include two working supervisor positions in the buildings and grounds department, one cleaner position in the buildings and grounds department, the school resource officer, which was a contracted service, two clerk II positions which are from the elementary building and the middle/high school building, the district treasurer position, a building level administrative position, and 13 teaching positions. The school board did not specify which employees were eyed for layoffs.

“We had to position ourselves in such a way that should we find a reduction coming our way, after we begin this fiscal year, that we had to be able to move relatively quickly. Those lay-off notices were distributed to allow the district the flexibility to make a move if we needed to once we get closer to the beginning of the school year,” Charles Leichner, superintendent, said. “It is our expectation and our hope that all of those people end up working at Cassadaga Valley again. Some will be laid off for this upcoming school year.”

The 2021 proposed expenditure budget for CVCS is set at $23,943,897, which includes three components, administrative, program, and capital. The proposed budget is a reduction of over $100,000 from last year’s budget.

The administrative component is set at $2,355,558, which includes material and supplies, contractual expenditures, and salaries and benefits associated with the board of education, central administration, legal services, and BOCES administrative costs.

The program component of the budget is set at $17,870,615. This includes material and supplies, contractual expenditures, salaries, and benefits associated with classroom instruction, BOCES instructional services, and student transportation.

The capital component of the budget consists of $3,717,724, which includes material and supplies, contractual expenditures, and salaries and benefits associated with maintenance of building and grounds and debt service payments for school construction and transportation vehicle purchases.

“It is important to note that while this budget includes increases in several areas such as employee benefits and special education costs, those increases are offset by a variety of staff reductions,” the budget statement reads. “Since CVCS received approximately $552,000.00 less in state aid this year than we did last year we were forced to make a series of difficult decisions to arrive at this budget.”

Included in the budget ballot is a ballot for a new board of education member. There will be one vacancy on the board where the newly elected official will serve a five year term. The candidates for the board member position are Diane Ellsworth, Elizabeth Martin, and Aaron Richner.

To vote on the budget and the board member, one must be 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. The ballots have been sent out via mail, but residents who did not receive one may access it on the website. The ballots must be received by the district clerk, Wendy Heslink, by 5 p.m. on June 9.

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