By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Following a lengthy debate over potential budget cuts, the Londonderry School Board voted unanimously last week to bring its proposed $63,222,575 budget to public hearing next month.
During the year’s final budget workshop on Dec. 21, board members sought an additional $400,000 in reductions from Superintendent Nathan Greenberg’s proposed budget.
Greenberg said the district’s teachers had agreed to forego payments given for attending regular staff development workshops, a move that would save the district $135,000 next year.
Further reductions include a library secretary position in the district office ($45,400), and system-wide reductions in supplies, materials and equipment ($20,000).
Cutbacks to co-curricular, or second tier, activities were presented as an option for saving an additional $200,000, though Greenberg warned there would be major consequences.
“The administrative team has looked at this very closely. I think we made legitimate recommendations to sway from dismantling programs,” Greenberg stressed, urging the board to opt against such cuts. “Further reductions will have significant impacts both short and long-term on the delivery of services to students and opportunities for same.”
Co-curricular (after school) music reductions at the middle school would save the district $21,000 but would potentially spell an end to music programs such as the jazz ensemble, the Pop Stars singing group, select choir, marching and color guard.
Over 150 students at the high school would be impacted by the elimination of freshman soccer, basketball, softball, baseball, lacrosse and football, to the tune of another $24,000 in savings. Another 130 middle school students would be impacted from similar cutbacks at the middle school level, though the district would save $27,000.
Cutting two teaching positions— one elective position at the high school and one elementary teacher — would save roughly $128,000.
“I think it would be ridiculous to cut any of the second tier, period,” resident Reed Clark told the board. “Any questions?”
No one else from the public offered comment.
However, School Board member Steve Young said the additional savings possibilities could still be returned to the table during the district’s public budget hearing, set for Jan. 13.
“I think those numbers need to be brought up again,” Young said. “We can further review some of these options during the hearing process.”
The school budget will next be debated during a public hearing on Jan. 13 at Town Hall.