School district to increase security budget

Central Valley. Due to civil service requirements that constrain the full-time candidate pool, the district will be looking to hire more part-time security.

| 27 Mar 2024 | 10:00

Proposed budgets for personnel expenses and curriculum and instruction were presented to the Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education at their March 20th meeting.

The district is proposing a reduction in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees by about six positions to about 1,122 positions. These positions are funded by the general fund budget, and include the superintendent, buildings and grounds, teaching, and transportation.

During the presentation, it was noted that an additional 34 FTEs who are employed as part of the district’s universal pre-K program are funded by the state.

Although the proposed budget calls for a reduction in staff, it was noted that, in some cases, expenses would increase despite the decrease in full-time positions. In particular, the budget calls for a decrease in full-time security positions from about 18 to 15. However, the budget proposes an approximately 6.8% increase in total salary for security to about $1.8 million. According to the budget presentation, full-time security staff must be civil service employees and finding qualified candidates to fill those positions is challenging. Part-time subs do not have to be civil service employees, so the district is moving toward hiring more of them to address security staffing needs.

Total staff salaries under the proposed budget would increase to about $109 million from last year’s adopted budget of about $105 million. Along with the salary increase for security, this change includes a 3.8% increase for instructional salaries and a 6.8% increase for transportation salaries. During the presentation, it was noted that these increases were in part due to contractual raises.

The proposed budget presentation also went over increases in employee benefits. The budget calls for an increase of 4.9% to about $55 million from $52 million. These benefits include health care and retirement systems. In addition, the budget presentation covered a proposed 2.1% increase in funding for core program items including textbooks, supplies and the reading program, as well as a 9.1% increase in funding for such district-wide programs as health, art and music. For the latter, the district explained that this funding includes increased costs for things like maintenance for cooking and sewing programs, instrument tuning, and theater production.


During the meeting, Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez addressed the request made at the prior BOE meeting for additional days off to coincide with the observance of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. She noted that in creating their calendar, the district must consider such factors as coordinating with the BOCES calendar, accounting for allocated snow days, as well as complying with state regulations.

“I really want to implore to everyone that for me it’s difficult to add holidays or religion days to the calendar because we are so constricted by the state,” said Rodriguez. Despite these challenges, however, the superintendent expressed her commitment toward working with others on finding a way to accommodate the Eid festival.

Superintendent search

During the meeting, the Board of Education announced the closing of the job posting for the superintendent position (as of March 22) and shared that the consultant firm, District Wise, had received 18 applicants the week before, with one or two more expected to come in.