Jefferson: Tax levy up 4 percent in proposed school budget
JEFFERSON Jefferson voters will consider a $5.76 million budget that would eliminate teaching positions and programs.
The proposed 2010-2011 budget would collect $2.4 million from taxpayers an increase of 4 percent over last year.
A roll-over of last year’s budget that would have included all teaching positions and programs would have resulted in a tax levy increase of 18 percent due to a reduction in state aid and the loss of other revenue sources due to the recent economic recession.
Officials chose to eliminate 10 percent of the district’s teachers, which amounts three full-time positions. Superintendent Carl Mummenthey said all three positions are at the elementary level and will be eliminated through attrition.
The budget would also eliminate driver’s education, a summer and after-school academic and enrichment program program and a late bus run. All three programs have low enrollment, Mummenthey said. Travel expenses for teachers, reduced budgets for materials and equipment and a reorganized business office also provided a savings. The district is expected to save $22,000 by doing their accounts payable with existing staff instead of contracting through the Otsego Northern Catskill BOCES for the service.
“We’re really trying hard to balance the needs of children against the community’s ability to pay,” Mummenthey said. “We recognize the hard time our residents are facing but we also have an obligation to provide a quality education for our students.”
Voters will also consider a proposition to purchase one 60-passenger school bus for no more than $99,604.
District voters will also choose between two candidates to fill one vacant 5-year seat on the Board of Education.
Peter Pochily graduated from the Jefferson School District and is the owner of Precision Builders in the town. His wife, Tammy, is also an alumnus and the couple have three children in the district. For the past three years, Pochily served on the district’s Site Committee, which makes recommendations about building improvements to district administrators. He also volunteers with youth soccer and basektball and is involved with Cub Scouts.
Pochily provided the following information about why he would like to be a member of the board:
“Jefferson Central School is an outstanding small school that I have been lucky to be involved with as a student, alumnus and parent for 37 years. During the last three years, I served on the district’s site team which makes building and site recommendations to the board of education. During these site meetings, I learned firsthand of the demands and pressures a small district faces. The statewide fiscal strain is affecting all schools and Jefferson is no exception.
This is likely the most challenging time that our district has faced and as an area businessman, I know what it is like to make tough decisions. I am prepared to serve on a board that will have to confront challenges, and if elected, I will be a responsible board member who is a strong advocate for excellent education while looking out for those that pay the bill, the taxpayers.”
David Lapinel is an attorney in Jefferson with a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a juris doctor from Syracuse University’s College of Law. He handles various juvenile issues,including abuse and neglect cases, in his law practice. He is involved with the Catskill Mountian Little League and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.
Lapinel provided the following information about why he would like to be a member of the board:
“All are aware of the importance of youth to family, community, country. Schools are a critical place where their development occurs. I gravitate to areas which impact on the development of children. Some of those areas are noted above. Seeking input into our school is part of a natural progression of involvement in such areas. My experience would enable me to be a resource to the school community. For example, my work in juvenile justice can lend some insight into the increments of behavior and discipline which occur in the school. We are at a point where ‘business as usual’ does not appear to be an option. Our schools have to educate and shape our children with fewer resources. As a conservative I believe I could assist in steering this process of holding on to and improving traditional strengths and economizing with a unwavering commitment to the students, and their outcomes.”
How to vote
WHEN: Tuesday, May 18, from noon to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Jefferson town hall