By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY Tuesday, May 15 is the day to have your 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 to vote you must be 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.
Eldred, Fallsburg, Liberty and Livingston Manor were profiled in Tuesday’s issue.
Monticello, the county’s largest school district, also has the largest budget, proposed for 2012-2013 to be $77,384,789.
That, however, is actually $60,134 less than the current year’s budget. Still, the tax levy hike is projected to be 2 percent.
As a result, staff cuts include six teaching positions through attrition, three cleaner positions (two through layoffs), one mechanic position through attrition and 10 teacher aide positions (all layoffs).
Programwise, special ed. students will be kept at district facilities, rather than sending them to BOCES.
The board race is unusually quiet this year. Bob Kunis and Cathleen Crumley-Doherty hope to be returned to their three-year seats, though Crumley-Doherty faces a challenge from candidate and past board member Barbara O’Rourke.
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 2012-2013: $7,463,128, which is $206,718 more than the current year’s.
The tax levy is projected to increase by 2.4 percent, which (thanks to a complicated state formula) is actually slightly below the district’s state-mandated property tax increase cap.
Thanks to “bullet aid” secured by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, district officials said they’ll be adding at least a part-time employee and restoring some electives, though which ones are still being worked out.
Voters are also being asked to decide a second proposition: to allow the district to collect $42,000 in taxes on the Roscoe Free Library’s behalf.
Incumbent school board member Ed Park is running unopposed for re-election, while Debbie Hendrickson is seeking the seat to be vacated by the retiring Merlin Brock. Both seats feature three-year terms.
Polls will be open from 12-8 p.m. at the Roscoe School Gymnasium 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 $33,434,949 2012-2013 budget is $866,201 more than the current year’s and comes with a projected 1.66 percent tax levy hike.
Costs continue to rise, so layoffs are in the works: an elementary librarian, a social studies teacher and a math teacher. Vacant or to-be-vacant positions that won’t be filled include an English teacher, an elementary classroom teacher, an elementary Academic Intervention Services teacher and a clerk.
Other than field trips and some BOCES offerings, no programs will be cut, and Superintendent Ken Hilton is proud to say that small class sizes will remain.
“We hardly gutted our programs,” he remarked. “... [But] that balancing act is getting more and more difficult.”
This year’s board race is more of a shoo-in. Incumbent Noel van Swol is running for re-election unchallenged, while candidates Rachel Brey and Lucas Arzilli are unopposed in their bids to replace retiring incumbents Rose Crotty and John Reggero, respectively.
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 2012-2013, Tri-Valley is proposing a $29,355,682 budget, a $258,206 decrease from the current year’s.
There is an estimated tax levy increase of 2.36 percent, however. While that appears to be above the state-mandated 2 percent property tax increase cap, the state formula actually allows Tri-Valley a cap of 2.59 percent this year.
Neither programs nor staff will be cut, though there will be no additions to them, either.
Voters will also be asked to weigh in on using an already-set-aside $350,000 to repair and upgrade the high school’s roof.
Board member Michael Brooks is hoping to be re-elected, while fellow incumbents Brian Edwards and Donna Schick are retiring.
Thus three spots are up for grabs, and in addition to Brooks, Curtis Brock, Jeffrey Nilsen and Kathy Denman are in the running.
The top three vote-getters will earn spots on the board for three years each.
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.