15 Sep 2014
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Proposed School Budget Cuts Change After Public Input

See what co-curricular activities will be funded, which are on the chopping block with the latest edition of the proposed 2012-13 budget.

Proposed School Budget Cuts Change After Public Input

Commack school officials have changed up what's on the chopping block in the 2012-13 school year after a series of public input sessions. 

The proposed $170M budget presented by Superintendent Donald James at the April 5 informal budget hearing has substantially changed since its first presentation on March 8. The district is still proposing to cut nearly $4.5 million in staff and programs, the lists of what's staying and what's going have changed. 

"Everything we have in our programs would require a 6.3 percent raise. That's a number that's not acceptable to our community. A matter of debate is what is acceptable," James said. "The Board of Education has settled on a 2.6 percent increase. We need to make some reductions. We simply don't have the money to spend. 

On March 15, Commack school officials presented their detailed recommendations for what co-curricular activities and clubs should be cut to go towards $700,000 in saving. Those clubs first recommended to be discontinued at Commack High School included Mock Trial, Debate Team, Best Buds, Computer Science Club, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, Technology Honor Society and New York State Business and Marketing Honor Society. 

Parents at the April 5 informal budget might have been surprised to find all the clubs listed above are no longer on the chopping block. They have been funded for the 2012-13 school. 

The 14 high school clubs school officials now propose to cut at Commack High School under the 2012-13 budget includes: 

  • ICA Stage Band
  • Peer Leadership
  • Warped Sci-Fi Magazine
  • Math Magazine
  • Glamour Gasl
  • International Thespian Society
  • Young Democrats
  • Young Republicans
  • Grandfriends
  • Future Health Professionals
  • Bible Club
  • Hebrew Club
  • Peer Mediation
  • Stagecraft

The superintendent defended the administration's new list of proposed cuts last Thursday evening before parents and students. 

"The determination of which clubs were cut was based on enrollment and students participation," James said. 

The five clubs propsoed to be discontinued at Commack Middle School are:

  • Fitness Club
  • Guitar Ensemble
  • Scrapbook Club
  • Stage Band
  • Treble Singers

Two girls stood up to thank the superintendent and Board of Education deciding to restore funding in the 2012-13 budget to the Best Buds club, stating that the clubs allows many disabled students to have a change to make friendships and step into leadership roles that that otherwise often don't have a chance at in other co-curricular activities. There are more than 100 Best Bud members at the middle school. 

Other noticible changes included the restoration of 1 administrative staff member and two secretarorial jobs, citing the district has "nearly completed agreement for concessions." 

James announced he would be taking a pay freeze, along with other central administrative staff, at the March 15 budget workshop. 

The district is still proposing to. James said the district remains in active negotiations with all units to avoid layoffs. 

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