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More cuts coming to Buffalo school budget

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Buffalo schools need to cut $4 million more from a planned $856 million spending plan to make it balance.

The cuts are still needed even after the district used $10 million from the accumulated fund balance.

The Finance and Operations Committee was told Wednesday night of an ambitious number of studies looking at making structural cost changes. Much of the meeting dealt with figuring out what it costs to run school buildings.

"Each building is different because it's based on the population. Some buildings have more special needs students and some buildings don't have hardly any," said Board Member Mary Ruth Kapsiak. "So, of course, we are going to make sure that those building that are in need with those children that we must service are getting the funding that they need."

Before going on the school board, Kapsiak was the district's supervisor of elementary education. Each school budget is tangled because principals have some money to hire teachers to meet specific needs or run special programs for the particular building and that process is still underway.

Board Member Larry Quinn says one goal is understanding what it costs to run a school building and what it needs.

"We know the projected cost of every school. The question we were wrestling with today is that the things that we feel we need to do for education are going to cost more than the revenue we have. So, the issue is, what do we cut? How do you make savings so we don't eviscerate the the basic bargain that the superintendent has proposed?," Quinn asked.

The district says it is hiring new teachers for next year to staff smaller classes for the very youngest to help build them a better educational foundation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.