In light of additional funds the Riverhead Central School District will receive next year after state legislators agreed to a final budget, Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said the extra money will allow the district to curb teacher layoffs – though she’s not exactly sure how many, or which staff, will be saved.
In February, Carney said that 12 teacher and nine teaching assistant layoffs would save the district over $2 million next year. But after Carney got word on Friday that about $270,000 more than originally projected will be coming to RCSD next year, layoffs will be lighter than originally stated.
“The additional state aid from the passed state budget will allow us to restore certain staff that were eliminated under tighter budgetary restrictions,” Carney said via email on Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proposed upping Riverhead Central School District’s aid by about $630,000 in January. After state lawmakers negotiated the governor’s competitive grant program down from $250 million to $50 million, additional funding was made available throughout the state. Riverhead’s final aid for 2012-2013 is now estimated to be just under $18 million as a result, about $907,000 more than last year.
“In turn, we will therefore be able to bring back instructional staff using these funds,” Carney went on. “The specific decisions as to which staff members will be restored to the budget has not yet been reached, but I am pleased that our staffing and instructional cuts will not be as severe as originally envisioned.”
Barbara Barosa, president of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, said on Monday that she had not heard of the precise increase in aid to the district.
“I’m hoping we can save three, four, or five positions, but I really don’t know yet,” she said. “[The increase in funding] may be used for staff, equipment, programs, or other things cut or reduced out of the budget … I have a feeling it will probably be about two positions.”
The teacher’s union is in the process of renegotiating its contract – which expires this upcoming summer – with the district. Barosa said there appears to be no sign at the moment of any settlement between the two sides which would save jobs slated for excess.
“As of right now, talks are not going well,” she said. “We are not making any significant progress at this point. I don’t see any settlement coming in the near future.”