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Auburn Enlarged City School District Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo speaks during a budget workshop meeting at the Harriet Tubman Administration Building in March.

Around 200 to 300 years' worth of experience will leave the Auburn Enlarged City School District after the end of the year.

The district is looking to make cuts toward positions with incoming retirements to save jobs ahead of the district's looming deficit.

District Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo said Wednesday that the district discussed cuts at a 2018-2019 budget workshop Tuesday. Pirozzolo said in February that in order to save additional jobs in light of a projected $3.8 million budget gap, the district would offer a retirement incentive to eligible employees who turned in a retirement letter by March 1.

If 15 or more employees sent in letters, Pirozzolo said at the time, the incentive would be $7,500. Employees were eligible if they are at least 55 and have 30 years of teaching experience or are 62 years of age.

District business manager Lisa Green said at a board meeting April 4 that through extra state aid from the state's 2018-2019 budget and various budget maneuvers, including a planned use of $1.32 million in district reserves, the budget gap would be pared down to around $2.3 million.

Pirozzolo said Wednesday he believed 17 employees turned in retirement letters. The district has been determining which of those positions won't require someone else to fill next year, he said. While the district won't have some longtime staff members next year, Pirozzolo said, it will allow younger educators to keep their jobs.

"It's always bittersweet when you're losing veteran teachers because they have all the experience and they've been a part of the school district for many years," Pirozzolo said.

Pirozzolo said the district has been looking at cuts in areas such as secondary education, special education, secondary education and elementary positions. There are a variety of considerations when weighing cuts, he said, such as the number of sections within different subject areas, how many teachers can teach those sections, enrollment numbers, and the district's targeted class sizes. 

Pirozzolo said the targeted size for kindergarten to second-grade is 20 to 25 students, with 25 to 30 students for third-grade to 12th-grade, with a focus on trying to get sizes on the lower ends of those ranges. The district has been working to determine how the retirements will impact retaining education quality, targeted class sizes, and other employees' positions, he said.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


Education Reporter