CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — The Cheektowaga Central School District is considering getting rid of 24 positions within the school district.
At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Mary Morris moved to eliminate eight teacher positions, three teacher aide positions, two social worker positions, and one business administration positions.
The eight teaching positions range from home economics to health and foreign language. There were also three special education teaching positions eliminated. Two of the positions were for industrial arts.
Morris tells 2 on Your Side, those budget constraints were a big part of the decision to get rid of the positions.
"Our transportation costs had gone up dramatically two years in a row and our special education costs had gone up dramatically two years in a row," said Morris.
Morris also says that she expected a budget deficit, however this year, the rising costs exacerbated the decision to eliminate roles throughout the district.
When she first began looking at the budget in December, the deficit was around $2 million. After receiving money from the state, the deficit is a little over $1 million.
Not all of these teachers are necessarily out of a job. Morris recently learned that a teacher was taking maternity leave and will have a teacher take their place. She also learned that two of the special education teachers were retiring which means only one person was laid off in that department.
Morris tells 2 On Your Side that there is a chance for more funding and the potential for increased enrollment means other teachers being laid off could have their jobs back when school starts again.
"Very Often, by the time we hit summer, most of the people who we’ve laid off have jobs again."
There is also the potential for the teachers who were laid off to fill some of the new positions that were created at the elementary level. Four of those roles are for teachers. Morris says that's what happened last year when 16 positions were eliminated in the school district.
"We had some room to make some changes at the middle school and the high school, but we needed more elementary teachers."
Morris also says that parents don't need to worry about their students getting the same quality of education. Even with the cuts to various departments, the class sizes will still remain the same.
"There’s nothing that’s been cut that is going to hurt our students’ needs,” she said.
The school district's budget hearing is on May 7 and a final vote will happen on May 21.