School budget/board votes on tap
Part 2 of 3
Story by Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY May 14, 2013 Tuesday, May 21 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.
So have a look, then have your say!
Monticello, the county’s largest school district, also has the largest budget, proposed to be $80,186,419.
That is 3.62 percent higher than the current year’s budget and comes with a projected tax levy increase of 2.81 percent, the legal limit of the state-mandated tax cap for Monticello.
Despite the increases, the proposed budget comes with cuts.
Thirty-six people will lose their jobs: 15 teachers, 12 teacher aides, two teaching assistants, two hall monitors, two ESL teachers, a psychologist, a social worker and a speech therapist.
A retiring administrator won’t be replaced, and the positions of Science, Math & Technology Director and English Language Arts, Social Studies and Library Director have been eliminated.
Monticello does plan to hire one safety staff person, an elementary librarian and a director of the Common Core program in the new fiscal year.
Since Common Core is similar, the district is eliminating the International Baccalaureate program.
“Each year’s school budget is an assurance made to students and taxpayers by the school district and the Board of Education to provide a reasonable, quality public education to the children of the Monticello school community,” said Supt. Daniel Teplesky. “The district continues to try to strike a balance between the needs of our students and the ability of our community to fund our educational programs. The 2013-14 proposed budget focuses the district resources and energies on ensuring student success.”
Three board seats, each for three years, are up for grabs. Incumbents Ellen Nesin and Stacey Sharoff are running for re-election, while Yvonne Housman is not. Nesin is unopposed, but Sharoff is facing a challenge from Terry Gray Sr. Running for Housman’s seat are Jennifer Kelly, Frank Segro and 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.
The smallest school district in the county, Roscoe, also has the smallest budget, though the proposed $7,741,000 one is 3.7 percent more than the current year’s of $7.4 million.
The tax levy hike is projected to be 2.4 percent, far underneath the state-mandated tax cap of 5.1 percent for Roscoe.
Supt. John Evans attributes that to an increase in state aid (as opposed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial plan to decrease aid) and a generous offer from employees.
“The teachers’ association,” Evans said, “offered a salary freeze for the 2013-2014 school year. That played a big part in us keeping the levy increase below the tax cap.
“... And it speaks a lot to how the folks who work here at the school understand what’s going on with the economy.”
As a result, no programs or staff are expected to be cut in the next fiscal year (nor will any be added). A retiring teacher and a retiring teaching assistant won’t be replaced, however.
Longtime board member Gary Dahlman is running unopposed for re-election to his three-year seat.
Voters will also be asked to weigh in on increasing the district’s contribution towards the annual support of the Roscoe Free Library from $42,000 to $44,000.
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 visit www.roscoe.k12.ny.us.