By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY Mark Tuesday, May 17 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.
Please note that all you have to be to vote 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 your say!
Eldred’s proposed budget for 2011-2012 is more than $1 million higher than last year’s, coming in at $18,003,000.
According to school officials, that hike is because of repairs planned for the Mackenzie Elementary School in Glen Spey, specifically its sidewalks, bus loop, entrance drive, parking lot and drainage system.
No layoffs or program cuts are planned a singular feat amongst the eight public districts within Sullivan County.
And surplus reserve monies $2 million total are being applied to lessen the tax impact, though the tax levy is still projected to increase by 6.75 percent, partially due to a loss of nearly $770,000 in state aid.
Amador Laput is running unopposed for the five-year seat he currently holds on the board of education.
Voters will also be asked to make one other decision: to allow the district to collect the Sunshine Free Library’s $12,000 annual tax levy (up $1,000 over last year).
Polls will be open at the Eldred Junior-Senior High School on Route 55 in Eldred from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
More information can be obtained by calling the district at 456-1100, ext. 5296 or 5146, or logging on to ecs.schoolwires.com.
Fallsburg has proposed a 2011-2012 budget totalling $35,543,247, a tenth of a percent less than last year’s.
The accompanying tax increase is the second smallest in the county, at 1.71 percent and no staff are being cut.
But $625,000 worth of cuts to the technology program, textbooks, and materials and supplies will be enacted under this proposal.
Board members Ann Benson and Joe Collura are running unopposed for re-election to their three-year seats, while Robert Leventoff is seeking to serve the remaining year and 14 days on former board member Karen Pollack’s term (she resigned in January).
Retiring board member Robert Hunter, however, has no one running to replace him, so whomever gains the most write-in votes will start a three-year term in July. If no qualified candidates are elected, the board will then appoint someone.
Voters are welcome between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Fallsburg High School Library on County Route 52 in Fallsburg.
For more information, call the district at 434-6800, ext. 1214 or ext. 1219, or log on to www.fallsburgcsd.net.
Coming in at $40,006,649, Liberty’s proposed 2011-2012 budget is about $1 million higher than last year’s, or 2.4 percent, reflecting the loss of about the same amount in state aid this coming year.
Taxes are projected to rise 2.6 percent; nevertheless, nearly $1.2 million in cuts will accompany that, mostly in staffing reductions: a health teacher, guidance counselor, driver’s ed. teacher, high school English teacher, business education teacher, science teacher, senior typist, teacher assistant, fourth grade instrumental music teacher, principal (due to the administrative merging of the middle and high schools), five aides, eight part-time aides, 10 assistant coaches, a copy clerk and a cafeteria monitor.
Some of these personnel may be hired back, according to district officials, but the board will determine that after the vote.
Voters will also be asked to approve or reject the creation of a capital reserve fund of up to $5 million over the next 10 years. The district plans to use it for building projects a ways down the road. No new taxes will be created as a result, and voters will retain control over approving expenditures from the fund.
Anthony Covington and Christine Schiff are running unopposed to retain their three-year seats on the school board, while Cindy Conklin is the sole candidate aiming for retiring board member John Milano’s seat.
The Liberty High School’s gymnasium on Buckley Street in Liberty will host the vote from noon to 9 p.m.
For more information, log on to www.libertyk12.org or call 292-6171, ext. 2060.
At $14,714,960, Livingston Manor’s proposed budget for 2011-2012 is just .3 percent higher than last year’s.
The tax hike, however, is projected to be 5 percent, due to the loss of more than $300,000 in state aid, the uncertainty of budgeting for a teaching staff now in its third year without a contract, and large increases in benefit obligations, according to Business Administrator Emilie Currie.
Some faculty and staff originally slated to be laid off have been preserved. But with a drop in enrollment along with the state aid loss, staff cuts are part of this proposal (all numbers are full-time-equivalents): 1.6 administrators, 9.8 teachers, one teaching assistant, one library clerk and five aides.
Plus, said Currie, the funds for athletics, supplies, equipment and transportation are being reduced.
Three positions are up for grabs on the board: two for three-year terms, and one to fill the year remaining on former board member Bryan Lamerand’s term. The top three vote-getters will earn the seats.
Candidates are Elliott Madison, Debra Miller, Claire Taggart, Thomas Kelly Sr., Daniel Smith and Sandra Frattarelli.
The district will also be asking for permission to collect the taxes for the Livingston Manor Free Library’s budget, which is up $2,000 from last year, for a total of $77,500.
Voters can have their say in the elementary school’s library in Livingston Manor from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
For more information, contact the district at 439-4400 or log on to lmcs.k12.ny.us.
Monticello, the county’s largest school district, also has the largest budget, proposed for 2011-2012 to be $77,444,923.
While the year-over-year budget increase is just 1.92 percent, the tax levy hike is projected to be 6.47 percent, due in part to a loss of more than $2 million in state aid.
Upwards of 15 teacher positions are slated to be eliminated, as well as an administrator, a clerk and three teacher’s aides.
As usual, Monticello will feature a vigorous board election. While incumbents Susan Purcell and Alyce Van Etten are running unopposed for re-election to their four- and three-year seats, respectively, three other seats are open due to a resignation and two retirements.
Cathleen Crumley-Doherty was appointed to replace Jo-Ann Peabody, who resigned recently, but now Crumley-Doherty must run and face challengers Tasha Butler and John Langseder to fill the year and 44 days remaining on Peabody’s term.
Robert William Bellamy is running unopposed for Liza Glick’s three-year term, and June Havas-Lombardi and Barbara O’Rourke are competing to sit in Tara Buckstad-Russo’s three-year seat.
Polling places will depend on one’s residential location, 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 Community Center 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 particular polling location), call the district at 794-7700, ext. 70501, or log on to www.monticelloschools .net.
Sullivan County’s smallest school district, Roscoe, has also got the smallest proposed budget for 2011-2012: $7,256,410, which is 1.19 percent less than last year’s.
However, the tax levy is projected to increase by 4.99 percent, even with an infusion of $100,000 in reserve funds to offset that.
While no programs have been completely eliminated, there will be less elective offerings in art, business, English and home economics.
Related staff reductions are coming, with the following positions reduced to part-time (one reduction each): maintenance, health/physical education, home economics, business education, art, and English.
Voters are also being asked to decide a second proposition: to allow the district to collect $40,000 in taxes on the Roscoe Free Library’s behalf (an increase of $2,000 from last year).
Incumbent board members Lynn Wachter and Tasse Niforatos are running unopposed for re-election to their respective three-year seats.
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 www.roscoe.k12.ny.us.
Sullivan West’s proposed $32,568,748 2011-2012 budget is .02 percent less than last year’s, but thanks in part to a coming loss of $1.1 million in state aid, the projected tax levy hike will be 2.04 percent higher.
Enrollment continues to drop, so layoffs are in the works (all numbers are full-time-equivalents): 1.5 special ed. teachers, 1.5 math teachers, 1 science teacher, and .6 English teacher, plus not filling a vacant custodian position or a retiring administrator, elementary teacher, LOTE teacher, two teacher aides, and a psychologist.
No programs will be cut, and officials are proud to say that small class sizes will remain.
“This budget ... is less than what it was five years ago,” SW Board member Angela Daley pointed out recently. “And two percent [the tax increase] is really kind of remarkable. ... I think it’s a great budget, and I do hope the taxpayers see that.”
Voters will also have a chance to pick the next board members. Incumbents Mary Scheutzow and Angela Daley are running unopposed for their three-year seats, as is incumbent Joan Glase for the two years remaining on her seat (she was recently appointed to the board to replace Richard Tegnander, who resigned).
Alfred Steppich and Kathleen Meckle are vying for a fourth board seat that comes with a three-year term, recently vacated by Brian Grady.
Voting will take place from 12-9 p.m. at a location that’s dependent on where one lives: 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 one’s polling location), contact the district at 482-4610, ext. 3000, or log on to www.swcsd.org.
For 2011-2012, Tri-Valley is proposing a $29,613,888 budget, a .64 percent increase from last year’s.
Of the eight in-county public schools, T-V can lay claim to having not only the smallest tax levy increase .98 percent but to crafting a budget with no program cuts or layoffs (two retirees won’t be replaced).
The district does have a battle for the three board seats (three-year terms each). While incumbent Kathy Denman is retiring, fellow incumbents Scott Mickelson and Joyce Hartman are running for re-election. Candidates Michael Ryan, Nelson Donovan, Terry James and Curtis Brock III are also aiming to gain one of those three seats.
The top three vote-getters will earn spots on the board.
Voters can make their choices known between 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the school’s main gymnasium along Route 55 and Moore Hill Road in Grahamsville.
For more information, contact the district at 985-2296, ext. 5201, or log on to www.trivalleycsd.org.