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West Irondequoit Schools faced with $1.5M in cuts

by Kelsie Smith

Irondequoit, N.Y. - A day after the West Irondequoit School District's budget failed to pass for the second time, the district's superintendent says they now have to cut $1.5-million from the original proposal.

"I'm a little lost for words, I don't know what to think right now," said Okan Serce, who moved to West Irondequoit 18 years ago because of the school district.

Serce's son will be in 8th grade next year. He's an athlete that could be directly affected by cuts that now have to be made.

"My concerns are modified sports, since my son plays three sports, wrestles, football, baseball and he's going to be going in to 8th grade. And how this is going to sacrifice the education in West Irondequoit," he said.

"My job is to make sure that this set back is short term," said West Irondequoit Superintendent Jeffrey Crane. "My fear is many schools that are in this position are set back five to ten years and I don't want that to happen here."

Crane explained cuts will come from three areas of the budget:

- $500,000 will be cut from mandated items like equipment purchases and subsiding outside groups using the school's facilities.
- $500,000 will come from personnel cuts. According to Crane there will be about 18 cuts from across the board.
- $500,000 will come from non-mandated items like modified sports to the Helmer Nature Center.

Crane said one of problem the district is faced with is their tax base does not grow.

"We've been trying to protect the tax payer from this very situation, and we don't have the reserves to do that anymore," said Crane.

But those who voted against the budget, like Richard Barone, don't believe that's the case, and that changes should have been made to the budget before Tuesday's vote.
"You can shave a little here or a little there some places you can shave a lot," said Barone. "They didn't even try."

Crane said he was initially hopeful the 60-percent would have turned out to vote in favor of the budget the second time around.

"What I thought was an attainable goal of 60-percent is a lot more difficult than I thought," he said.

Over 6,000 people turned out to vote June 17th; 3,363 voted yes, 2,789 voted no. The percentage of yes was 55%.

Crane said they'll have to have a plan for the board to consider by their July 8th meeting.

 
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