The budget cuts put forth at the Dunkirk Board of Education Preview meeting last week are now a reality.
The board, in the absence of members Gary Pignataro and Bridget Majka, unanimously approved the elimination of six reading teachers, a German teacher, an elementary and a middle school BREAK teacher, a teacher removal room position as well as the reduction of a math position to part-time and the reduction of a guidance counselor and middle school intervention room coordinator.
Superintendent Gary Cerne explained after the meeting these cuts had to be made to maintain the tax levy.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
The Dunkirk Board of Education made budget cuts official at its meeting Tuesday. Left to right are Board President Roosevelt Haynes, Superintendent Gary Cerne and board member Kenneth Kozlowski.
"It's a tough situation. As you know, 76 percent of our budget is in people. To get to the flat tax levy we wanted to be at, the only way to close those gaps is unfortunately by cutting people," he said.
However, Cerne did report having promising conversations with Silver Creek Interim Superintendent David Kurzawa about shared services.
He explained the district shared its wrestling program this past year and will host summer school for Silver Creek students in coming years, but all programs are on the table.
"We are talking about everything, any way we can save money between the two districts is on the table. We had sort of a brainstorming session last week and the list is lengthy, it's really premature to start saying what, but what's good is it's serious dialogue," Cerne said.
He said decisions won't be made until later in the summer, after Silver Creek has found a permanent superintendent.
The budget vote will be held at regular polling places May 15 from noon to 9 p.m. Cerne asked residents to come out and vote.
"Please come out and vote, exercise your democratic rights. Basically it's the same number we've been voting on right along, I hope people are used to that number and ... I hope we have a nice turnout," Cerne said.
In other business:
Cerne said Sen. Charles Schumer will visit the district Monday to speak about the situation with NRG. Schumer is scheduled to speak at 1:10 p.m. with a location to be determined.
Cerne added the school is looking into the purchase of equipment for its new fitness center. He said it is expected to be open for athletes over the summer and to the public in September.
The board heard a presentation from High School Technology Teacher William Smock and James Gardner, a representative of Cummins Engine and Dunkirk resident, on a manufacturing internship program.
The program started last year, and according to Smock, has been a huge success in making students aware of what manufacturing is and what can be done locally in Chautauqua County.
Gardner encouraged the board to forward the program with a grant opportunity through the Cummins Foundation.