The Massapequa School District may be forced to layoff teachers as a result of the coming budget shortfall.
At a budget presentation at last week's Board of Education meeting, Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock hinted at the possibility while answering a question posed by Joe Garbarino, the chair of the Massapequa Committee for Educational and Fiscal Responsibility.
When Garbarino expressed the opinion that the district doesn't need as may teachers because enrollment is down, Adcock responded that the number of teachers may drop.
"You'll see on the instructional side of the budget, there is about $977,000 worth of unemployment insurance," he said. "That should give you some type of idea that there will be and has to be, as a result of the tax cap, layoffs in this district."
When asked after the meeting if he had any hard numbers and how many teacher layoffs there will be, Adcock said, "Not yet." The the district is laying off one bus driver and eliminating two other currently vacant positions.
During the presentation, Adcock said the district will face an estimated $4.7 million budget shortfall because of the state's new 2 percent tax cap.
He also estimated the maximum allowable tax increase this year under the cap would be about $3.5 million.
That won't be enough to meet expenses next year, because of increased pension and health insurance costs as well as other mandates, according to Adcock.
But School Superintendent Charles Sulc vowed to keep the cuts away from the classroom, at least for now.
"I will not make any recommendation to the board of education this year that will eliminate programs," he said, quickly adding that the district would not be able to make the same promise in future years.
Adcock also said that it will be difficult not to make cuts down the road. "This is not a one shot thing, this is not just for the 2012-13 school year" he said of the tax cap, saying that more rising mandate costs will mean program reductions.
The next budget discussion will be on Mar. 1.