District Superintendent Greg Woytila said no agreements have yet been reached, but said each of the five unions is open to at least discussing the matter.
"We had talked to all the unions about being part of the solution with the budget situation we're in," he
"Some are setting up appointments, some are talking to their groups but as for dollar amounts or what the concessions would be, we haven't gotten that far yet."
The school board and Woytila
began last month working to propose myriad cuts to staff and programs in order to try and close a roughly $5 million shortfall.
In simplest terms, the district like most of those in the state, is facing huge increases in costs associated with personnel while losing millions of dollars in state aid and Albany effectively downsizing assistance to schools across the board.
Numerous proposed cuts to non-mandated classes across the district - especially at the elective-rich high school level - have hypothetically reduced the projected deficit in North Tonawanda
to possibly less than $1 million, with a tax levy of 2 to 3 percent still looming.
Officials are still considering what portion of the budget may need to be made up in taxes, though the goal of a zero percent tax levy is still being sought.
"We're in the 2 to 3 percent range now," Woytila
The recently passed state budget returned about $185,000 in projected shortfalls in state aid the district has used to paint a preliminary picture of its finances.
Even with the slight return over conservative estimates, however, state aid to the district has still decreased by almost $2 million.
In light of that, rising costs associated with personnel account for a big part of the persistent shortfall, with contributions to the state's pension system up 50 percent this budget season, along with a 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums, Woytila
Such issues have also affected municipalities across the state, as flagging Wall Street investments needed to help pay for pensions have meant more of the bill is passed on to taxing entities like school districts.
Contractual step increases in employees' salary also added about $1 million in expenses this year.
Still, myriad proposed cuts, if adopted would leave the district with a tax-neutral budget if and only if another $700,000 to $1 million can be shaved, Woytila
Union concessions still likely wouldn't make up all of the difference, he
That alone is not going to save it," Woytila
With regard to North Tonawanda's teachers, seniority is one factor accounting for the district's place in the rankings, North Tonawanda School District Superintendent Greg Woytila said.
said about 50 of the 380 teachers in the district are at the top step of their seniority.
"Somewhere else might have a little higher salary but they're not as seasoned," Woytila