HUDSON FALLS — Hudson Falls school officials want high school students to be taking more classes and have fewer study halls.
To accomplish that goal, the district plans to add a home and careers teacher as part of a nearly $44.32 million spending plan adopted last week by the Hudson Falls Board of Education.
“It’s our effort to get some of our high school kids back in classes,” said Superintendent of Schools Linda Goewey.
There is also funding for an instructional coach, professional development, an academic intervention services teacher at the high school and buildings and grounds equipment, according to a fact sheet on the budget.
The budget is nearly flat, decreasing by 0.17 percent. The tax levy would increase by 1.9 percent, to $12.23 million, which is well under the district’s 4.3 percent tax cap.
“We’ve never gone up to our maximum cap for the past several years,” said Kevin Polunci, executive director of business and human resources.
The district was able to keep the costs down because of retirements of five teachers and four support staff positions, according to Polunci. In addition, he said some bonds were paid back.
Goewey said there were also some staff reductions, including the elimination of one elementary teaching position because of a decline in enrollment in a grade level. Also, four special education teacher aides were not needed anymore.
Most of the job cuts are through attrition, according to Goewey.
The district is adding two special education teachers, Goewey added.
“We opened a new classroom with students with multiple disabilities at the high school,” she said. “The kids that are currently in the middle school program are getting older, and we need to create a high school program.”
Goewey said she is also setting aside some money in the budget to make school safety improvements. She is not exactly sure what that would entail. It could include a school resource officer or upgraded security at the entrances.
“We’re going to be presenting that to the board next month and making some decisions how we can utilize that money,” she said.
About 72 percent of the budget is funded through state aid. The district is set to receive nearly $700,000 more in state Foundation Aid. The tax levy will fund 28 percent of the budget. Miscellaneous revenues, including $420,000 worth of fund balance, make up the rest.
Also, on May 15, voters will decide whether to purchase two 65-passenger buses, one 29-passenger bus and one 22-passenger bus at a cost not to exceed $360,000.
The district has about 2,450 students. Polunci said the district has a very transient population and enrollment could fluctuate by 50 to 60 students throughout the course of the year.