The Auburn Enlarged City School District superintendent said he recently spoke with the state education commissioner about the possibility of loosening COVID-19 restrictions.
Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo told the district's board of education at its meeting at the Auburn High School Library Tuesday night that he spoke with Dr. Betty A. Rosa, as a part of a meeting with the New York State Association of Small City School Districts on Feb. 22.
Pirozzolo, the president of the association, said they talked about "when (COVID-19 health and safety) guidelines might be lessened." The suggestion of changing social distancing guidelines for students from six feet to three feet also came up, he continued. That alteration, which Pirozzolo has publicly advocated for in the past, would allow all of Auburn's students to return to classrooms.
It would allow the district to place more students on buses than they currently can due to restrictions, Pirozzolo said after the meeting. Rosa told him and the other association members that she and her team have been talking to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office about these issues and will continue to do so.
The superintendent acknowledged "there's a lot of things that they have to consider," including new strains of the coronavirus and whether vaccinations would take care of those strains. He praised Rosa and her team.
"She was very receptive" to the association's questions, Pirozzolo said.
In other news
• The board received a presentation from district business official Lisa Green on the program component of the proposed 2012-22 budget.
The largest increase in the program aspect of the budget is salaries, Green said in an email before the meeting, adding they are almost always the biggest bump in all departments. According to Green's presentation, salaries in the curriculum and supervision category are set to jump from $370,281 in 2020-21 to $438,091 in the 2021-22 proposed budget. Green said in the email that those boosts are due to contractual increases "as well as the shift of some administrator salaries from grants to the general fund."
That said, salaries in the technology category are set to go down slightly, from $419,043 in the current year to $416,140 next year, the presentation said. The presentation also said a drop is poised to happen in student services, with $7,790,203 for the current year, down from $7,557,875 for the upcoming year.
Another major hike is transportation, Green said. Auburn's contract with the transportation service First Student expires this year so the district put out a bid for transportation services for next year, she continued. Green also said the contract hasn't been awarded yet, but transportation costs are anticipated to go up by 11%, or $200,000.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.