Community voices concerns over Schenectady school budget - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Community voices concerns over Schenectady school budget

Posted: Updated: May 07, 2014 10:54 PM

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Schenectady residents voiced their concerns over the newly adopted school budget during a meeting Wednesday night.

The Schenectady Central School District adopted a budget of $164.3 million in April. Now it is up to the community to vote on it. If it is rejected, the district will have to draft an entirely new budget.

Donald Liebers is one of many concerned parents who were at the meeting. He said he wants the best for children who attend Schenectady schools.

“I think it’s imperative that we pass this school budget,” he said.

However, Liebers is afraid education might suffer because of the budget cuts.

“We have endured many cuts over the past several years,” he said. “Each budget for the last several years has been cut. We haven’t added any positions and this is making it more and more difficult to keep our students educated.”

The newly adopted budget included eliminating 40 staff members, eliminating electives and increasing class sizes.

“We’ve still been looking at over $3.5 million,” Board of Education president Cathy Lewis said. “That’s a pretty severe cut after we’ve done $10 million in each of the last three years, so it’s very difficult.”

Now it is up to the community to either pass or reject the budget, but in order to save sports, music and arts programs, the budget includes a tax levy increase.

The increase would raise taxes about $5 per month for the average household. Liebers hopes voters won’t be short-sighted.

“Strong schools just makes your city stronger,” he said.

Voting will take place on May 20 from noon to 9 p.m. If the budget doesn’t pass, the school board will be forced to also cut music, arts and sports programs.

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