Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

Democrat File Photo

A view of the Jeffersonville campus of the Sullivan West School District, which also houses the district's administration.

School budget votes reflect harsh realities facing districts

By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY — May 11, 2010 — Mark Tuesday, May 18 on your calendar.
It’s one of the few chances you’ll get to have a say in the fiscal future of local government – in this case, public schools.
Sullivan County’s eight school districts will be holding their annual budget and board votes on that day, and we’ve collected the info you need to know before walking into the polling place.
Info on Tri-Valley and Livingston Manor will appear in Friday’s paper.
Please note that all you have to be as a voter is at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, a registered voter (with the county’s Board of Elections or, if you wish, just with the district), and a legal resident of the school district for at least the past 30 days.
So have a look, then have a say!
Eldred’s leaders are hoping voters will approve a $16,803,000 budget for 2010-2011, the same as last year’s.
Nevertheless, the tax levy is projected to decrease by 3.27 percent, thanks to the application of $467,500 in excess fund balance (year-to-year surplus) to the budget rather than new taxpayer dollars. It’s the only decrease at any of the eight in-county school districts.
A new school bus will be bought, and no staff or program cuts are expected, making this perhaps the easiest-to-swallow school budget in all of Sullivan County.
James Burns is running unopposed for the five-year seat currently held by Raymond Henry, who is retiring.
Voters will also be asked to make two other decisions: to allow the district to collect the Sunshine Free Library’s $11,000 annual tax levy (up $1,000 over last year), and to create a new Capital Reserve Fund able to hold up to $2.5 million for repairs and construction needs recently identified at the Junior-Senior High School and the Mackenzie Elementary School in Glen Spey.
Polls will be open at the Highland Town Hall along Sullivan County Route 32 (4 Proctor Road, near the Route 55 intersection) in Eldred from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
More information can be obtained by calling the district at 456-1100, ext. 5129 or logging on to
Fallsburg is proposing a $35,579,068 budget for 2010-2011, a 2.52 percent decrease from last year’s budget.
Nevertheless, there is an anticipated tax levy increase, coming in at 1.93 percent. That’s due, said Business Manager Dan Grecco, to the state’s reduction in state aid – a problem in every school district.
Nine people will be laid off, while another position will not be filled when the employee retires.
Three board seats are open, with unopposed incumbents Arlene Hussey and Robert Whitaker seeking re-election to their three-year terms. Lorraine Lopez (Justiniano) and Katherine Rappaport are vying for the three-year seat formerly held by Michael Zalkin.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the High School Library on County Route 52 in Fallsburg.
For further info, call the district at 434-6800, ext. 1215, or log on to
The second-largest school district in Sullivan County, Liberty, is asking voters to approve a $39,053,693 budget for 2010-2011, a 2.4 percent increase over last year’s.
The associated tax levy hike is estimated to be 1.7 percent, but layoffs and program cuts are unavoidable, said district officials. Twenty-one positions will be eliminated (half through attrition, the other half as layoffs), as will junior varsity girls tennis, junior varsity boys wrestling, two cheerleading coaches and away-game participation by cheerleaders. Supplies and equipment purchases are also being reduced districtwide.
Three board seats are up for grabs, with incumbents Joyce Teed, Phillip Olsen and Andrew Kavleski seeking re-election to three-year terms, along with new candidate Boise Sellers III. The top three vote-getters will earn board seats.
Polls will be open from 1-9 p.m. at the high school gymnasium on Buckley Street in Liberty.
For more information, contact the district at 292-6171 or log on to
Monticello’s proposed $75,985,992 budget for 2010-2011 is .9 percent lower than last year’s budget but comes with a 6 percent tax levy hike, due, said Superintendent Pat Michel, to the massive loss of state aid and the general economic conditions.
Compared to surrounding districts, the tax hike is steep and the cuts deep, extending beyond 61 layoffs and program reductions. The Duggan Elementary School in White Lake will be closed – even if voters don’t approve this budget, said Michel.
A slew of candidates are vying for just three seats open on the board, each for a three-year term.
Incumbent Yvonne Housman is running for re-election to her seat but is facing challenges from Philip Borko and Lillian Lubiano Armstead. Incumbent Barbara O’Rourke is also running for re-election but is also facing competition from Vincent Gilmore, Sean Rieber, Jody Shames Tedaldi and Stacey Sharoff. Incumbent Richard Feller is not seeking re-election, but three contenders are vying for his seat: Helen Jersey, Ellen Nesin and Robert L. Stewart.
The location of your home will determine where you vote, but all polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School (Election District 1) off Route 42 in Monticello, the Duggan Elementary School on Route 55 in White Lake (District 2), the Chase Elementary School (District 3) on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wurtsboro, the Rock Hill Firehouse (District 4) on County Route 58 in Rock Hill, and the Forestburgh Town Hall (District 5) on Route 42 in Forestburgh.
For more information (including your polling location), call the district at 794-7700, ext. 70501, or log on to www.monticelloschools .net.
Roscoe voters are being asked to approve a $7,343,974 budget for 2010-11, just a .18 percent increase over last year’s.
The tax levy hike is projected, however, to be 1.95 percent due to an expected loss in state aid. Still, school officials said no layoffs or program cuts are anticipated, and the pre-K program may actually expand to a full day.
Voters are also being asked to decide a second proposition: to allow the district to collect $38,000 in taxes on the Roscoe Free Library’s behalf (an increase of $2,000 from last year).
Board President Gary Dahlman’s three-year seat is up for grabs. He’s running unopposed for re-election.
Polls will be open from 12:30-8 p.m. at the Roscoe School Auditorium on Academy Street in Roscoe.
For more information, call the district at 607-498-4126 or log on to
Sullivan West
Sullivan West is proposing a $32,654,377 budget for 2010-2011, about $100,000 less than last year’s.
A tax increase of 2.7 percent goes along with that, attributable, said Superintendent Ken Hilton, to an expected reduction in state aid of nearly $1 million.
Two people will be laid off, with three other positions cut to part-time. The elementary Spanish and summer school programs will be eliminated, while driver’s ed. will be summer-only and staff/student trips will be greatly reduced.
Current board members Ken Cohen, Rose Joyce-Turner and Richard Tegnander are running for re-election to their three-year seats. However, only Tegnander is facing a challenge, from candidate Peter Monfredo.
Voting will take place from 12-9 p.m. at a location that’s dependent on where you live: the Delaware Youth Center (District 1) on Creamery Road in Callicoon, the Sullivan West Elementary School’s 1938 gym (District 2) on Schoolhouse Road in Jeffersonville, or the Tusten-Cochecton branch of the Western Sullivan Public Library (District 3) on Bridge Street (Route 52) in Narrowsburg.
For more information (including your polling location), contact the district at 482-4610, ext. 3000, or log on to

top of page  |  home  |  archives