RANDOLPH With a three to four hundred thousand dollar deficit, administrators at the Randolph Academy fear more jobs could be cut after the holidays.
With declining enrollment and subsequent revenue loss, Superintendent Lori DeCarlo has been in contact with the New York State Education Department Office of Rate Setting via teleconference in order to seek a waiver to provide temporary financial relief for the remainder of this year. If a waiver is granted, it would only be temporary, according to officials, and cannot be permanent; also keeping in mind the fact that the school needs to stay competitive. A waiver would allow for an increase in the rate at the Academy.
"We are seeking a waiver from NYS Education Department Office of Rate Setting to provide temporary financial relief for this year," stated DeCarlo. "This would prevent further job cuts for this school year. The board of education will wait for some guidance from the Rate Setting Unit at the SED before taking any action. If relief is unlikely, the board may have no other choice but to make further cuts.
Randolph Academy is not a taxing authority, so it must balance its budget in each fiscal year. No rainy day accounts are allowed, nor is reserve funding permitted for schools like Randolph Academy," DeCarlo relayed.
In August of 2005, 193 students were enrolled in the school. In August of this year, enrollment had dropped to 102 students.
Ms. DeCarlo went over the job cuts report which showed that 27 employees have lost their jobs since enrollment has been cut and five employees have been cut to part time. "I was choked up when I had to present this report," Ms. DeCarlo told board members, adding that they were all good, dedicated employees.
She stated that the Academy would need 128 students to support the budget the board had approved last year and even after the cuts, they still need 114 students to support the budget. At the current time, there are 104 students enrolled. When cuts were made in August, the Academy needed 109 students to prevent doing any more cut backs under the current budget.
"Increased enrollment is one variable that would prevent further job cuts. Recent changes to admissions criteria have greatly increased the quality of services offered at Randolph Academy. The board received a detailed marketing plan that aims to increase enrollment. The board will continue to vigilantly monitor the situation," DeCarlo stated.
It was also reported that students aren't being sent outside of their districts as they once were. There is a growing trend towards keeping children within their own districts for local support from their own communities.
Officials reported that the students are thriving and the quality of the program has gone way up since changing their admissions policy, with many students doing well enough to be discharged.
As students are being released from the program, officials are left to seek replacements for the gap left behind financially with each student that leaves.
Administrators will begin presentations and a marketing plan in January. For now, officials await a response from the state before making any cuts to ensure employees enjoy their holidays.