By Dan Hust, Rob Potter, Matt Youngfrau and Susan Monteleone
SULLIVAN COUNTY May 11, 2001 All eight public school districts in Sullivan County will be asking residents for budget approval and other matters this Tuesday, May 15.
Its one of the few chances residents get to vote directly on a public entitys budget and financial items as long as voters are registered with the district.
The following information is provided as a public service to the communities of Sullivan County. For more information, please contact your local school district clerk.
The Eldred School Board approved an $8.92 million budget for the upcoming school year, which reflects a 4.25 percent increase over last years total of $8,558,700.
Taxes are projected to increase by 4.73 percent.
The budget allows for one teaching assistant position at the Mackenzie Elementary School, and a K-12 counselor, according to the board, will be quartered at the high school.
The board is also putting up a separate proposition for three new school buses to be purchased over the next two years one 60-65-passenger school bus and a 20-25-passenger school bus with an estimated cost of $110,000, and another acquisition for the 2002 -2003 school year of a 60-65-passenger school bus at a rough cost of $71,000. The purchase prices will be partially offset by state aid.
School Superintendent Candace Mazur added that she is not sure what the tax impact will be since the state aid figures and the districts application to become a certified school district is still unclear.
An additional $6,500 is in the budget for the Sunshine Hall Free Librarys tax appropriation.
H. Marsha Hunter is running for re-election to her three-year term, and Elaine Kuhn is running against her.
Voting will take place from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at the high school in Eldred.
The vote for the Fallsburg Central School District Budget will take place from 8 a.m-8 p.m. at the Fallsburg High School Library.
The budget for the year 2000-2001 was $20,602,985. The proposed budget for the year 2001-2002 is $21,604,507. That is a 4.86 percent increase over last year's budget and would lead to a tax levy increase of 3.40 percent.
The reason for the increase is that certain issues, such as health insurance, additional services, and stricter state regulations, have been added. Also, some of the Special Education classes are being brought back to Fallsburg from BOCES through a state initiative.
"We are bringing two more special education classes back to the school," Superintendent Gary Holbert stated. "We will add to the afterschool program and have an alternative school."
There are several three-year seats on the Board of Education that are up for election. The seats are currently held by Margaret Sabinsky, Darryl Wells, and Michael Zalkin. Wells and Zalkin are running unopposed. Sabinsky is retiring. Todd McCarthy and Barbara Strauss are vying for her seat. There is also a seat available for a one-year term, held by Neil Gilberg. Gilberg has decided not to run for re-election, but Robin Bedik is ready to take it over.
Plagued by a late state budget, Liberty Superintendent Brian Howard isnt sure what the tax impact will be if the proposed $24,210,878 budget is approved.
I dont dare . . . based on what theyre doing in Albany, he remarked. Based on the governors proposal, it could reach double-digits, but based on the Assemblys, it could be five percent.
What is known is that this years budget is eight percent higher than last years, which came in at $22,640,046 a result, said Howard, mostly of mandated programs.
When we get into the middle of this, a lot of people forget that we dont have control over many of these programs, he explained. Were told by the state ed. department basically what were going to do.
However, with test scores inching up and two graduates accepted into West Point (the only district to be able to brag about such, believes Howard), Howard said the school is on a good, improving track.
Howard added that a proposition will face voters on Tuesday: that of turning board elections into at-large races, rather than seat-specific ones.
However, this year, its still seat-specific, and while Armand Seibert and Philip Olsen are running unopposed for their respective three-year terms, Kris Roth has two contenders for the three-year seat shes giving up: Jerome Burd and Christine Murphy.
The election will be held in the high school gym from 1-9 p.m.
Livingston Manors budget has increased 7.5 percent this year, up from last years $9,530,703 to a grand total this coming year of $10,249,141, if voters approve it.
A tax increase projected at four percent is also in the works, if the budget is approved. Superintendent Ken Gray indicated that the increase was due to new debt service payments, rising health insurance costs, more spending on technology and contractual salary increases.
Weve had a zero tax increase for the last three years, he pointed out.
All else is fairly quiet in the proposal, which features a proposition to approve a tax appropriation for the Livingston Manor Free Library, and a vote for the lone three-year term up for bid. However, theres only one contender, whos the incumbent: Sandra Coe.
Voting will be held in the old auditorium from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The vote for the Monticello Central School District Budget takes place this Tuesday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Polling places are as follows: the Forestburgh Town Hall, the Rock Hill Fire Department, the Emma C. Chase School (Wurtsboro voters), Cornelius Duggan School (White Lake voters), and the Monticello Middle School.
The budget for the year 2000-2001 was $44,066,674. The proposed budget for the year 2001-2002 is $46,818,822, which is a 6.25 percent increase over last year's budget and translates to a tax levy increase of 4.9 percent.
The reason for the increase is to maintain the present programs and to provide additional resources for the students, said Superintendent Eileen Casey. There is funding for additional personnel for academic support and replacement buses.
"The bulk of the increase is because of additional academic intervention services to meet New York State standards," commented Casey. "We need additional help to meet those standards that are mandated by the state."
There are two seats on the Board of Education that are up for election. The term of the office is five years. The two seats are currently held by Susan Horton and Jeffrey Gersten. Horton is unopposed. Gersten is opposed by Eugene Nesin.
Voters in the Roscoe Central School District can cast their ballots between the hours of 12:30 and 8 p.m. in the schools cafeteria.
The proposed spending plan for the 2001-2002 academic year is $4,438,256. That represents an increase of $237,259, or 5.65 percent, over the current budget of $4,200,997.
That increased total includes a proposed increase in the Roscoe Free Library appropriation from $12,500 to $17,500.
However, the actual effect on the tax levy would be an increase of 2.9 percent. That increase is needed due to a 22 percent rise in health insurance costs, increased fuel costs and contractual salary increases.
The budget proposal reflects a desire to continue to provide quality educational programming to kids in a cost-efficient manner for the taxpayers in the district, Superintendent George Will said.
Will also noted that programs in the budget illustrate a continuing effort to raise student performance in the district.
And recent standardized testing results have shown that this is happening, he added.
Voters will also be asked to decide on one school board seat. Vice-president Gary Dahlman and challenger Kenneth Mabee will square off for Dahlmans position on the board. That seat carries a three-year term.
Voters in the Sullivan West district will head to the polls from noon to 9 p.m. Voting will be held in three locations: the gymnasium at the Delaware Valley campus in Callicoon, the 1938 gymnasium at the Jeffersonville-Youngsville campus in Jeffersonville and the Tusten-Cochecton branch of the Western Sullivan Public Library in Narrowsburg.
The proposed 2001-2002 Sullivan West spending plan totals $24,698,544, which represents a 17.52 percent increase over the current school years budget of $21,016,045.
However, once the debt payment of $2,700,000 on the districts building project is subtracted, the budget increase is $982,499. That represents a 4.7 percent increase over the current budget. (State aid and the districts reserve fund are expected to cover the debt payment cost this year and the next three years as well without affecting taxes.)
The projected tax increase will be 4.93 percent.
Among the factors for the increase are contractual obligations, a 21 percent increase in health insurance premiums and a rise in fuel oil and electric costs.
Superintendent Michael Johndrow noted that programming will remain basically the same in the proposed 2001-02 budget. However, since the Narrowsburg high school students will be taking classes at the J-Y campus for the upcoming academic year due to renovations at the Narrowsburg school, they will be able to take courses that were offered to only J-Y students in the past. By the same token, J-Y students will have the chance to participate in some unique science programs that only Narrowsburg students had previously.
We think its a fair budget, Johndrow said of next years spending plan. The administration and board members worked very hard on it.
Voters will also be asked to choose three school board members. Each of the candidates chosen by the district voters will serve a three-year term on the board.
Incumbent board member Richard Lander faces challenger Arthur Norden. Dr. Jerry Triolo will be opposed by two challengers Carol J. Wingert and Ken Uy for his board seat. And Angela Daley and Tim Lanese will vie for Daleys seat on the board.
Tri-Valley voters will face a proposed $19,626,768 budget on Tuesday from 2-9 p.m. in the junior/senior gym in Grahamsville.
Thats up 14.56 percent from last years $17,132,226 budget due to the bond for the large, voter-approved addition to the school but only represents a tax increase of 5.6 percent.
In addition to a proposition regarding the tax appropriation of monies for the Daniel Pierce Library, voters will be asked to approve or reject a multi-year lease of one handicapped-accessible school bus at a cost of $7,800 a year.
Even though the budget increase is rather large, said Superintendent George Vanderzell, the school board has done an excellent job of keeping the tax impact low.
But, just like the other districts, Vanderzell said its a guessing game as to exactly what the tax impact will be pending an approved state budget.
We budgeted very conservatively . . . for a worst-case scenario, said Vanderzell.
Three three-year board seats are up for grabs, but only one person, Rich Ienuso, is vying for a seat besides the incumbents: Leonard Bernstein, Wanda Terwilliger and Tom Yager.