While Niagara Falls celebrates the opening of a new athletic complex, district officials are coping with a $3.5 million budget shortfall for the coming year.
Niagara Falls Superintendent Cythnia Bianco is quick to note the new athletic complex, the largest in the New York, was paid for using state funding and other avenues, not taxpayer money.
While celebrating the facilities' opening, Bianco told WBFO the district is considering various cuts to close the budget gap, including eliminating 45 positions. Some of those jobs would be teachers and teacher assistants.
Bianco says, though, they are hopeful such cuts could be done through attrition if necessary
"We're trying to avoid, as much as we can, reduction in staff because our kids need the services of the staff," says Bianco. "It's tough, real tough."
Bianco says about 82% of the district's budget is salaries and benefits. She notes it is difficult to balance what the district needs, and what it can afford.
The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed cuts and budget during a hearing tonight at the high school. Residents will vote on the budget plan on May 19.