The Patchogue-Medford Board of Education focused its discussion on how to cut costs during its first in a series of Monday night at .
Donna Jones, assistant superintendent of business, presented the areas of general support, business, human resources, plan and facilities, security and the print shop for the projected 2012-13 school budget.
“Identifying the approach here...is to determine creative ways to save, think outside of the box and do something new and innovative with regard to the costs," Jones said, "and you are going to see a lot of that as we go through this budgeting process in order for me to accomplish what I'm trying to do with the fund balance."
Reductions in the budget (the overall figure won't be determined until the state releases its proposed budget and school aid figures later this month) include $622,374 in general support (7 percent), $327,198 (10 percent) in business and $261,589 (5.6 percent) in plan and facilities, $3,000 (5.2 percent) in security and $7,473 (2 percent) in print shop expenses. No potential layoffs were announced as a result of these cuts.
The district will also save about $282,086 next year due to the .
Many of the reductions discussed involved finding ways to do more with less money as the district will need to abide by the state's new two-percent property tax cap. The board is continuing to explore the of closing one of the district's three middle schools for the next school year, but there was no talk on the topic Monday night.
During the meeting, the board also flagged additional ways to save money, such as asking to further reduce $7,200 marked for Board of Education travel expenses to conventions, instead opting to only earmark expenses for required training for new board members.
Superintendent Michael Locantore also announced that schools will start posting their monthly newsletters electronically with the exception of the September newsletter since it includes important transportation information. Those that would like a printed copy will be able to request one from the school.
Future budget workshops will show other areas of the next year's spending plan and a number of potential budgets, such as the presentation of a budget should the board decide to close a middle school. That workshop will be on March 5.
The next budget workshop will take place on Jan. 24, during which the special education budget, the BOCES budget, transportation, the governor's budget, and initial information on the impact of closing a school will be discussed.