By Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON Sullivan West has called off an auctioning of the sports banners from the former Narrowsburg, Delaware Valley and Jeffersonville-Youngsville districts, in response to a public petition.
They may be displayed in the Jeffersonville and Lake Huntington schools, as will the trophies and awards, which were never planned to be sold.
Finding the room and enough trophy cases will be key, said SW Supt. Ken Hilton at last week’s school board meeting, and he invited the public to help.
Old graduation photos from all the schools may also be displayed, a la what’s hung inside Jeffersonville’s 1938 building.
Hilton grimly informed the board that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s two percent property tax increase cap, which goes into effect next year, may harm the district.
Unless 60 percent or more of the public vote is in favor of raising taxes past two percent next year, SW expects to only be able to raise about $330,000 in new revenue, which won’t even cover an expected 10 percent hike in employee health premiums.
Hilton worried that the state is pushing for layoffs and larger class sizes through the two-percent cap.
Hilton, however, got a two percent raise in his salary at the board meeting, by unanimous vote of the board (Rose Joyce-Turner was absent).
Having received a three percent raise last year, he will now earn $163,584 annually.
Hilton also spoke of the stalled contract negotiations with the teachers’ union, saying a two percent raise offered to the teachers was rejected, with the union favoring a three percent increase this coming year, plus the regular “step” increases.
The raises, however, may not have been the real sticking point, as Hilton explained that the district asked teachers to contribute three percent more to their health insurance, while the union offered a one percent increase.
The matter is headed for third-party arbitration.
Truly global school
The board unanimously gave Hilton permission to seriously explore enrolling tuition-paying foreign students.
Noting a success story he had read, Hilton indicated that adding students from other countries to the high school at $10,000 to $11,000 per student per year could aid the district financially and culturally.