WESTPORT -While one position was dropped down from three days a week to two, there were no staff eliminations when Dr. John Gallagher presented his plan for the Westport Central School District.
On the chopping block during the March 24 meeting were after-school programs and any field trip that involves transportation.
"There are a lot of tough decisions that we have to make this year," Gallagher said. "We went line-by-line through the budget and cut whatever we could."
Some people attending the event were upset at where the cuts were coming from.
"I would respectfully disagree with your presentation," said Nikki Sudduth. "Doing away with co-curricular activities and field trips is not the way to go." "I know that my son was able to get a scholarship through his participation in the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) Program to Quinnipiac and also get accepted into their business school," board member Sue Russell said. "That would not have happen with this program. These show our students on different stages than just in the classroom, so I share that concern."
Board member Thomas Kohler asked if there would be any type of field trips under the new budget.
"Any that they can walk to," Gallagher said.
"So your saying no more field trips," Kohler replied.
Gallagher and others on the board explained that students would still be able to take field trips in town for projects and other events, but that there would be no trips that required transportation or a registration fee.
"There are a few things that the students do in the community that do not require transportation," board member Jim Carroll said.
Gallagher said that the final decision on which co-curricular activities would lose funding would not be made until the administration had more information on their funding figures.
"Right now, everything points to an on-time state budget," Gallagher said. "There has been a lot of talk that there will be some funding restored, but it's not going to be a lot."
Gallagher also recommended the trimming of a music teacher position from a 60 percent job to a 40 percent job.
"We would be cutting that position back from three days a week to two days a week," Gallagher said. "We have looked over the schedule, and there is a way to make sure that the same amount of classes are being taught even with the decrease in the position."
Gallagher stressed that there would be no impact on the core educational programs as a result of his proposals.
Gallagher said that these, along with several other cuts and the use of fund balance, would lead to a tax levy of $3,130,156 under his proposal, an increase of 3.85 percent over the 2010-11 budget. The school is currently looking at a loss of $185,820 in state aid funding.
The biggest increase in revenues would come from using $282,676 from the Employee Benefits Accrued Liabilities Reserve to offset aid and other increases.
"The state Comptroller's office has opened one of the fund balances up for us to help offset budget cuts," Gallagher said."We do have fund balance that we can use to help with the process."
The school board will meet to adopt a proposed budget on Thursday, April 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the school library. The budget will then be sent to the voters for approval on May 17.