By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY May 13, 2005 Folks in three of the countys school districts got a preview of what theyll be facing in the voting booth in Tuesdays Democrat.
Heres the breakdown of the budgets and the board elections for the remaining five districts.
Votes will be held in all eight districts on Tuesday, May 17.
Residents of the Eldred Central School District are facing a $12.5 million budget proposal this year, including an $8,000 budget addition for the Sunshine Hall Free Library.
The estimated increase in the tax levy will be 4.8 percent with significant costs to the district coming on the heels of a major court settlement with the Mirant Corporation.
The district landowner challenged its tax assessment and last year won a settlement that will require Eldred schools to pay back $1.5 million.
Board of Education President Vincent Zike also said in a statement issued to voters that increases have been realized in the areas of salary, insurance and retirement.
Voters will also be voting on a proposition to replace a 66-passenger bus and a nine-passenger bus and purchasing 20 security cameras to place on buses. The total costs of the vehicle purchases are not to exceed $111,650, while the cost of the cameras is estimated to be $20,000.
Up for grabs in this years board vote are two seats.
Shain Fishman and Raymond Henry will face off for a five-year term.
Stephan Glasser will be running to fill the unexpired term of his wife, late board president H. Marsha Hunter, against Nadia Rajsz and Kathleen Herling. One year remains in that term.
Livingston Manor Central School District voters will be facing a budget proposal that includes the smallest tax increase in the county the $12 million budget will up the levy by approximately 4.07 percent.
According to Superintendent Debra Lynker, the district has realized a savings with the retirement of four teachers and a modest increase in state aid.
The district has made some additions, which bumps the budget up 3.53 percent from last year, including a new reading teacher, updating technology in the library, restoring field trips and extending the librarians position to 11 months so her services would be available for summer school students.
District voters will also face a raft of propositions on this years ballot.
The first, if approved, would create a capital reserve fund, allowing the district to set aside monies for future capital projects.
The fund will have a cap of $10 million, Lynker said.
Not that we plan to have $10 million, she explained.
The goal was to set a high figure so the district does not run the risk of exceeding the cap at any point.
Funds expended from the capital reserve would still be subject to voter approval, Lynker said.
With that in mind, voters are also being asked to approve repairs to the lower portion of the clock tower. If the capital reserve fund is approved, $100,000 in district monies would be placed in the fund, then extracted to cover the costs of the repairs.
The advantage is that by putting it into the capital reserve, it would be eligible for full state aid, Lynker explained.
A previous project fixed issues with the top portion of the tower, but Lynker said there are structural issues and with the heavy downpours of late, there have been leaks.
Also on the ballot is a proposition to change the board of education voting procedure. Currently candidates run for a specific seat on the board, facing off against specific challengers.
The goal is to change the structure of the board so positions are at-large. Those running for a seat would then face off against all the other candidates.
This years board elections will run as they have in the past.
Incumbent Edna Simpson is facing a challenge from Bryan Lamerand, and current board member Robert Johaneman will face off against Cathy Mead and Gregory Clarke.
Each term will last three years.
Voters in the Monticello Central School District will be deciding on a $60.3 million budget this year, up 7.04 percent from 2004-05.
That translates into a 9.27 percent increase in the tax levy.
Only one seat, a five-year term, is up for election on the board of education. Incumbent Vivian Gambino-Liff is facing a challenge from Yvonne Housman.
The $29.6 million budget proposal facing Sullivan West voters in the ballot box this year represents a decrease in expenditures from last year.
Even with a 1.4 percent decrease from last years budget, the proposal will result in an estimated 18.82 percent tax increase.
The $29.6 million figure includes staffing cuts as well as the closure of the Delaware Valley and Narrowsburg elementary schools, but a release issued by the board of education tells taxpayers that this proposal does not reduce any academic programs.
In fact, the board statement says it includes improvements in programs at the elementary school, junior high school and high school.
Also on the ballot will be four seats on the board of education.
Board member Bill Erdman is facing challenges from Nancy Peters and Jennifer Mann for his three-year term, while incumbent Arthur Norden will square off with John Reggero for his own three-year seat.
Ken Uy and Anna Niemann will face off for the three-year term being vacated by board member Carol Nearing.
Catherine Novak and Matthew Kleiner will face one another for the seat being vacated by Dr. Jerry Triolo. Triolo, a former board member, was filling in until the election after the resignation of Jerry Murphy. That term will last for two years.
The $24.5 million budget proposal facing Tri-Valley voters on Tuesday will maintain all programs from the current year.
Nothing was cut, said Lisa Raymond, superintendent of business. Were not eliminating staff or anything from last year.
The budget proposal represents a 6.95 percent increase from last year realized mostly in salaries, employee benefits and fuel and operations.
With the completion of the districts building projects, the buildings and grounds budget has been increased to include three new staffers and cover the costs of providing utilities to bigger buildings.
That has been gradually added to the budget over the years, Raymond said, but with the sudden hikes in fuel and electricity costs, the increases are even more significant in this years budget.
The budget proposal will result in an estimated 5.98 percent increase in the tax levy.
Also on the ballot this year are three three-year terms on the board of education.
The top three vote tallies will determine who earns a seat on the board. Incumbents Scott Mickelson, Kathy Denman and George Dean are all running again, along with Joyce Hartman and Erik Coddington.