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School Budgets: What
You Need to Know

By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY —May 4,2004– It’s that time again.
Sullivan County’s residents will have to make some tough choices about their school districts this month – from who they want representing them on the board of education to the amount they want to see the budget increase.
Here is the rundown of some of the proposals at Eldred, Liberty, Fallsburg, Roscoe and Sullivan West.
Included are the dates and times of public hearings, the hours the polls will be open on voting day (Tuesday, May 18) and facts and figures on each district’s proposed budget.
Some of the districts declined to release tax levy increase information due to the as-yet-approved state budget and to-be-determined town assessment equalization rates.
A rundown of the information for the county’s remaining districts will appear in Friday’s Democrat.
The Eldred Central School District is looking at an $11.2 million proposed budget this year.
According to Superintendent Ivan Katz, that represents a 9.48 percent increase from last year, even after the board pared $80,000 out of the budget.
Lost were a part-time technology coordinator position, a nine-passenger school vehicle and the driver’s education program.
Voters will also have to decide on the acquisition of two 60-65-passenger buses and 20 security cameras, all at an estimated cost of $168,000.
The ballot will also include the re-election of Robert Warden, the one board member whose seat is open this year.
Residents who want to comment on the proposed budget can do so on Monday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the school.
The vote will be held Tuesday, May 18, between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Fallsburg voters will be facing a $26.3 million proposed budget this year, up 6.84 percent from last year.
The district’s board of education will be accepting comment on that figure Wednesday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
When voters go to the polls, they will also be looking at the re-election of the three board members running for their seats.
Barbara Strauss, Darryl Wells and Michael Zalkin are all looking to be re-elected to another three-year term on the board.
The high school library will be open for voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 18.
Residents in the Liberty area will be voting on a $28.7 million budget this year, up 8.5 percent from last year.
According to Business Official Tom Goskoski, the budget, if approved, would likely have a 9.64 percent effect on the district’s tax levy.
Goskoski said there will be some staff cuts, including teachers, aides and assistants.
Nothing new has been added, although increases have been realized in the district’s contribution to the teacher retirement system as well as healthcare benefit and workers compensation costs.
“The [teacher retirement system] is the thing that really hamstrung us this year,” Goskoski noted.
Residents who want to comment on the proposal can attend tonight’s public hearing at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Voters will also have to make some pretty tough choices on their representation for the board of education this year.
Eight candidates are up for four open seats on the board, three three-year terms and one one-year term.
Incumbents Philip Olsen (who is currently board president), Armand Seibert (currently vice president) and Chris Murphy are running for re-election. Joyce Teed is also looking to reclaim the seat she was appointed to fill when Frank DeMayo resigned to take a position as Town of Liberty Supervisor.
Also running for seats on the board are Michael Salvia, Linda Aracci, Norma McAndrew and former Liberty board member Matt Frumess.
Voters can cast their ballots between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Liberty High School gymnasium on May 18.
Sullivan West
Programs are safe in Sullivan West, but voters will have to decide on a $29.9 million budget when they go to the polls this month.
The proposal for next year represents an 11.46 percent increase from last year.
The average effect expected on the tax levy by this budget is a 7.12 percent increase.
According to Superintendent Mike Johndrow, this budget season was full of staff changes.
A vice principalship has been added at the high school along with three new teaching positions, but the budget was pared back by eliminating six other employee positions.
Another nine teacher aides were cut as well.
Programs are safe, however, Johndrow said.
“We haven’t eliminated any programs, we’ve shaved them,” he said.
Voters will also have to make some choices on who they want to see at their board of education meetings in the future.
Incumbent Rick Lander is running unopposed, but board member Jerry Triolo is facing a challenge from Fremont Center resident Shawn Bailey, and Tim Lanese will have to defend his seat from a challenge by Jeffersonville resident Jerry Murphy.
All of the men are hoping to earn a three-year term on the board.
Residents who hope to comment on the budget can do so on Thursday, May 6, at 7 p.m. at the high school.
The district’s three polling places will be open on May 18 from noon to 9 p.m.
Even the smallest school district in the county is facing an increase in its budget this year.
The voters in the Roscoe Central School District will have to decide whether to approve a $5.4 million budget this year, up 6.8 percent from last year.
Superintendent George Will said the district’s declining enrollment did something to offset costs.
One special education teacher and two part-time aides are being cut, but more so because of the drop in student population than anything else.
“This will not affect programs,” Will said.
Roscoe’s board of education will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, in the cafeteria.
Residents will be able to vote on the budget and whether Board of Education President Gary Dahlman should keep his seat on May 18 between 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Monticello Hearing Thursday
Information on the Monticello school district’s proposed budget could not be gained by press time, so look in Friday’s Democrat for the details.
However, a public hearing on the Monticello school budget is scheduled for this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria.

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