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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 9, 2009

For VCSD, flat budget brings a tax increase

By Saranac Hale Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Following the distribution of funds from the federal stimulus package to schools, the final budget here will be the same as last year, $21,662,438, and several teaching positions will be restored.

Faced with a steep decline in state aid, the district had planned cut 13 percent of its teachers.  In a presentation to the school board on Monday, Sarita Winchell, the assistant superintendent for business, said that the positions had been restored except for those that were cut due to decreasing enrollment or changes “in computer support services.”

Among the cuts made because of fewer students in the high school, which total $90,000, are two periods of music, two periods of social studies, two periods of math, and one-and-a-half periods of art, according to Winchell.  The cuts related to “changes in delivery of computer support services,” Winchell said, covered two periods a day and affected English department staff in the high school — for a total of $27,000.

Additional cuts include eight-tenths of a dean-of-students post, which saves the district $54,000, and $69,000 worth of aid time across the elementary, middle, and high schools.

Even though the budget will not increase for the 2009-10 school year, the tax levy will, which is due to a decrease of $290,691 in state aid and the retiring of the 1989 bond issue, which decreases building aid, according to Winchell.  She estimated the tax levy increase at 2.38 percent from the actual 2008-09 to the budget for 2009-10, and a 1.69 percent increase from the budget 2008-09 to budget 2009-10.

Other business

In other business, the board:

— Heard from Happy Scherer, of the American Field Services Intercultural Exchange, and two students who have spent a year in Voorheesville.  Both boys, one from Thailand and the other from Italy, expressed gratitude to the school board and said that they enjoyed their time here;

— Heard from National History Club members who placed in a recent competition.  The four students who made up two teams were Fannie Liu and Adam Katz, both seniors, and Robert Stefan and Dan Whiteley, both juniors;

— Heard a presentation of plans drawn up by Elemental Landscapes, Inc. based on the wishes of William Childs for landscaping around the Voorheesville’s high school.  The work is being done in memory of the long-time Kiwanian.  The board later voted unanimously to accept donations for the work from the New Scotland Kiwanis and Elemental Landscapes and authorized Winchell to purchase up to $4,500 in landscaping materials for the project;

— Heard from Anne Lyons, a social studies teacher, that she was recently awarded a summer fellowship in Seoul, South Korea;

— Heard from a student that the school recently hosted successful drives for blood and Pennies for Patients;

— Voted unanimously to accept the resignations of Dorothy Frender, a bus driver who had worked in the district for 20 years and will retire; Donna Russel, a teaching assistant who worked in the district for 15 years and will retire; and Molly Spooner, a music teacher who will pursue graduate studies;

— Voted unanimously to extend the parental leave of Jennifer Hemming, a special education teacher, to Sept. 1 from the expected date of May 4, and voted unanimously to extend Sarah Domermuth’s appointment as a long-term substitute to fill Hemming’s place until June 30;

— Voted unanimously to appoint Melanie Szumowski as the long-term substitute for seventh-grade science, effective April 6, to replace Jessica Bradshaw during her parental leave;

— Voted unanimously to approve the substitute registry appointments from the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services;

— Voted unanimously to approve recommendations from the Committee on Special Education discussed at recent meetings, and designated the superintendent to be the signatory for health service contracts related to the Individualized Education Programs for special education students;

— Voted unanimously to appoint the following Learn-to-Swim assistant instructors to each be paid $8.50 an hour: Margaret Scatena; Reynalyn Canchela; Rachel Degnan; Sean Malloy; and Corinne Chatnik;

— Voted unanimously to grant Thomas Kurkjian’s request for Armine Kurkjian, who will be a sophomore and does not live in the district, to attend Voorheesville in the coming school year;

— Voted unanimously to approve the district’s agreement with Kids’ Club, for $10,500 for rental space at the elementary school in the 2009-10 school year;

— Voted unanimously to declare the stove and ovens in the elementary cafeteria obsolete and allow the “business official” to dispose of them;

— Heard from Theresa Kennedy, associate principal at the middle school, that students are collecting “gently used” sneakers and sandals for a project to help people in Uganda;

— Heard from Michael Goyer, transportation supervisor, that there is now money available for a grant that he had applied for to furnish the district’s buses with diesel-oxidation catalysts, which break down pollutants in the buses’ exhaust; and

— Voted unanimously to accept a $3,375 donation from the Parent/Teacher Association for the Elementary School Humanities Program.

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