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The Times
  • Central Valley hiring as school year nears

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  • ILION — The Central Valley Central School District staff will have about the same number of full-time employees as the districts that combined to form it.
    Previously, Ilion and Mohawk school districts had a combined 200 full-time staff members and two part-timers. The new district hopes to start the school year with 206 full-time employees.
    School district Business Manager Kenneth Long couldn’t provide the amount that would be spent on salaries, but said the district would remain within the roughly $44 million total budget.
    “We set aside money for all potential issues,” he wrote in an email. “In my 15 years here, I have not overspent a budget, and I do not plan to start now.”
    While some employees moved up the ranks into administrative positions such assistant middle school and high school principals, some teacher positions remain vacant fewer than two weeks before the school year begins:
    • Physical education teacher.
    • Family and consumer science teacher.
    • Technology teacher.
    • Grades 7 through 12 science teacher.
    Long said the vacancies are a result of a number of factors, including replacing retirees as well as scheduling seventh- and eighth-graders in a different building than grades 9 through 12 and offering at least one new course.
    “Every position that exists in Central Valley exists because it’s absolutely necessary to ensure success,” district Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said. “Interviews are taking place as we speak.”
    Just because they’re hiring now doesn’t mean cuts won’t be made in the future, Tangorra said.
    “If in the pursuit of finding more opportunities for children we find that we need fewer adults, then that’s going to happen,” he said.
    Tangorra said the district is fiscally strained because of being a low-wealth district.
    “The problem with low-wealth districts isn’t that we’re spending too much,” he said. “We have a revenue issue. By no means has the revenue problem gone away.”
    On top of that, state aid tends to fall short, which is common for any school district whether it’s merged or not, said Carl Korn, spokesman for the New York State Union of Teachers.
    “It’s very difficult to predict how much state aid will be available for schools,” Korn said.
    He said that consolidation aid can fill in where state aid lacks, but either way, there’s no “crystal ball.”
    Tangorra said that the merger is doing what it was meant to do — provide opportunity for kids.
    “As we said all along, in the next 20 years or so, if nothing else changes … the state has a lot of work to address the inequities,” he said.

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