Statement of Superintendent Dr. Ray Giamartino
Monday, February 15, 2021 Statement of Dr. Ray Giamartino, Interim Superintendent:
The East Ramapo Central School District, after discovering the fact that student Chromebooks were not ordered last March when had been needed, began a series of internal soft audits to ensure that there were no other areas that had long-term gaps in meeting student’s holistic needs. At each stage of the audits or internal reviews, the interim Superintendent and his team discovered a series of long-standing underfunded budget codes. This was inclusive of assessing and then determining that although the district’s budget failed last May, the district did little at that time to make budgetary adjustments to meet the necessary reductions of the current contingent budget. Upon such discovery, the district began right-sizing personnel and reduce overstaffing over the past three months - including starting with reducing from 8 to 4 assistant superintendents at central office and initially seeking to ensure reductions were as far away from the classroom as possible. The district further assessed external expenditures and the interim superintendent immediately froze all external consultant contracts upon his arrival, immediately saving the district close to $2.3M. As a result of the immediate and necessary need to meet the scope of the Contingent Budget, coupled with the pending costs associated with the long-standing litigation - inclusive of the recent court decision that will cost the district over $4M - and in conjunction with state aid losses, the district is compelled to reduce classroom staffing by up to 32 FTE. The reduction in teaching FTEs will allow the district to increase needed personnel efficiencies, combining class sections where, in some cases, have had a maximum of 8-11 students for a number of years - an unaffordable model. This is a sad and challenging time for East Ramapo and one that the interim superintendent, Board and district take very seriously. The need to support our students and ensure equitable access to high quality programs, services and personnel - inclusive of seeking to restore much-needed social workers is essential. Planning forward for sustainable long-term fiscal, academic and social-emotional supports must take place and will be the core focus of the 2021-2022 Budget development process.