Newburgh school district leaders face difficult choices after voters reject budget

The district originally proposed cutting more than 60 teacher positions because their funding source for those positions, the American Rescue Plan program, has run out.

Ben Nandy

May 22, 2024, 9:29 PM

Updated 32 days ago

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Newburgh School District Superintendent Jackie Manning Campbell said Wednesday that district officials have to make "many tough decisions over the next couple weeks" following voters' rejection of their proposed 2024-2025 budget.
The district originally proposed cutting more than 60 teacher positions because their funding source for those positions, the American Rescue Plan program, has run out. The district also proposed adding about $500,000 for administrator raises, the sports coaching budget and to hire part-time school monitors.
"I've spent a lot of time combing through that budget," Deborah Bouley, former school board member turned education activist, said Wednesday.
Bouley compiled a list of possible budget changes from her discussions with voters.
The list includes cutting four administrative positions, pulling back on raises for top district officials and downsizing the district's communications department.
With more administrative cuts, Bouley said some teacher positions could be saved.
Bouley's videos on social media may have influenced Tuesday's vote.
"The public doesn't understand how this process works," she said. "Now I hope that through education, through my videos, that they do understand that they do have a voice."
The school board now has two options. They can propose another budget to be voted on in June or they can adopt a bare-bones contingent budget that must eliminate all non-contingent expenses and would include even more teacher position cuts.
Several voters told News 12 they hope the board chooses to hold another election on a budget that proposes more cuts at the administration office.
"I don't think that the teacher positions should be cut," said Curtis Brown, a restaurant owner and father of a 6th grader. "Those are teachers. I don't think they should be cut, not at all."
"We need to make sure that as many of them (students) as possible can go through school with proper education," local accountant and voter Byron Gardener said.
Superintendent Manning Campbell wrote in an email to News 12 she is very disappointed be ausebthr changes that will have to be made will negatively impact students' access to instructional programs, athletics, music and drama, technology, staffing ratios and class sizes."
The school board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday.


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