General Brown Board Meets Tonight: Will There Be Numbers?

news analysis


By Scott Atkinson

The General Brown school district's board of education meets at 6 pm tonight. After the last week, it's likely to be a well-attended session.

And the people showing up will be looking for, among other things, a number.

Last week, school superintendent Steve Vigliotti said "significant" layoffs were in the works for next year, but he declined to say how many. Neither would the head of the teacher's union, nor would other school officials contacted by 7 News.

As of Friday, we were told by two sources that the number of positions being cut is 36. That's teachers and other jobs. We're not 100 percent sure all the jobs are currently filled, though none of our sources said anything about vacant positions being cut. Those affected were notified last week that they're losing their jobs at the end of the year.

Not everyone agrees with our number. We heard from a teacher being cut that the number is 23, not 36, including 20 teachers.

The teacher said the job cuts were described as "possible," which makes sense, given that the state legislature isn't done working on the state budget yet and may deliver an unexpected bonus of school aid. That could reduce the number of cuts.

In addition, over the weekend we were given a partial list of the people who were told their jobs are being cut.

The list shows 17 teachers being cut, across both elementary and the high school. The cuts appear to touch most programs. In addition, a librarian, a secretary, two teaching assistants, five aides and a bus garage employee appear on the list, for a total of 27.

So it's likely that the people attending tonight's meeting will be looking for clarity on just how many jobs are at risk.

There are some other numbers to be on the lookout for as well:

- What will be the size of elementary school classes if the cuts go through? 

- How many - if any - high school "elective" courses will be cut next year?

School officials have talked about one big number - a budget gap of $1.8 million. That number is driving all the other numbers that may be disclosed tonight.

- Scott Atkinson is WWNY's news director.




Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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