Voorheesville appoints former association head to vacant school board seat

—  From the Voorheesville Central School District

Timothy Kremer, the former executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, was appointed to the Voorheesville School Board in December to fill the expiring term of Michael Canfora, who resigned in October. 

NEW SCOTLAND — After four decades of “preaching the gospel of school-boardsmanship,” Timothy Kremer, the former executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, decided it was time to get in the trenches.

He had just announced his retirement when he learned of the vacancy on the Voorheesville School Board, he told The Enterprise. 

“It was one of those things, I said, ‘You know what, I should walk the walk. I’ve been talking the talk for 40 years; I should walk the walk,” Kremer told The Enterprise. 

Kremer worked for 21 years as the executive director of NYSSBA, the statewide advocate, lobbyist, and voice of New York’s 675-plus boards of public schools. He previously spent 19 years at the Ohio School Boards Association, where he was hired fresh out of graduate school and worked his way up to executive director before being recruited to New York. 

Kremer said that his three sons had all passed through the Voorheesville school system. When the family moved from Ohio, his eldest son started in the ninth grade while his twins started in the sixth grade, which at the time was still located in the elementary school, Kremer points out. 

Asked about the educational differences between Ohio and New York, Kremer said the big difference is cultural: The expectations parents have of their children in New York, and the way in which those parents are willing to put a lot of money into public education. “They spend a lot more money in New York than they do in Ohio,” he said. 

Kremer is on the board only until May. He was chosen among a dozen applicants for the unpaid post and was appointed in December to fill the expiring term of Michael Canfora, who resigned in October

 Asked if he will run for a full term, Kremer said he thinks he will.


Levy limit

The school board, at a special meeting on Jan. 27, was presented with an estimated increase in the tax-levy limit of 3.13 percent for the 2020-21 school budget — which is the maximum property-tax increase the district can ask voters to approve; it could also be an increase smaller than 3.13 percent.

If the board were to present a budget with a higher levy, two-thirds of Voorheesville voters, rather than a simple majority, would have to approve it. Voorheesville has never presented a budget over the state-set levy limit.

The multi-step process used to set the levy limit was explained to the board in detail.

The estimated levy for 2020-21 is expected to be $18,726,770; if the school district is able to include other costs, then that levy could be increased to $18,754,799.

Prior to the implementation of the tax cap, between 2004 and 2011, Voorheesville had an average levy increase of 4.3 percent, according to the Rockefeller Institute for Government. Since implementation, between 2012 and 2018, the average increase has been 2.1 percent.

The board will be presented with a draft of the 2020-21 budget at its Feb. 10 meeting. 

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