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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — At the Sullivan West board meeting on April 25, superintendent Stephen Walker displayed a PowerPoint presentation describing how the board arrived at a balanced 2019-2020 school budget—though not much has changed from his last presentation.
Walker said the presentation for the current night’s meeting was exactly the same as previous presentations, because the board’s goals have remained the same. Those goals include continuing with leadership and academic opportunities for students, building social and emotional supports, continuing to support ongoing embedded in-class professional development for teachers and integrating and using technology to advance learning for students at all levels.
In early March, the state legislature and the governor hadn’t yet agreed on the amount of state aid to schools. Toward the end of March a final budget was reached, and the Sullivan West board learned of its final state aid allocation.
“As of last time, the deficit was $173,000. They anticipated that the legislature and assembly would come up with some additional state aid and they did. They just didn’t come up with the $173,633. They allocated an additional $46,374 to us at that point, which left us with a continued deficit of $125,000 that needed to be shaved off to have a balanced budget,” said Walker, who went on to explain what was shaved off. He said $100,080 was initially allocated for capitol project work to, “maintain the excellent standing of both of the buildings.” He added that the board shaved off $25,000, but the budget still allocated $155,000 to transfer to capitol, so the board made an additional reduction of $25,000.
Some other reductions in budget included the elimination of a proposed extracurricular position related to high school department curriculum coordinators. Three temporary teacher aide positions will end at the close of the school year. A fourth teacher aide position was a resignation that the board decided not to replace. The elimination of the discipline support position at the high school, the summer program at both schools and the reduction of some student services at BOCES all created additional savings.
“At a glance $38,398,347 is the final budget number which was listed on the agenda for approval,” Walker said. “The budget to budget increase—just looking at how much money was budgeted for this year versus how much was budgeted for next year—is about 2.04%, and the tax levy itself increases about 2.5%.”
“In summary,” Walker said, “the budget adds to the instructional program for kids, increases support for struggling learners, provides high-quality instructional coaching for teachers, integrates technology and associated support at all levels, provides social and emotional learning opportunities for all students and all faculty—and does all that while remaining in the New York State tax cap. I am extremely proud to be able to say that.”
The budget vote will be on Tuesday, May 21, from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at the Delaware Youth Center, Callicoon; Tusten-Cochecton Library, Narrowsburg; and Jeffersonville School, depending on where residents live. Walker said he can be contacted regarding any questions relating to the budget at 845/482-4610. ext. 3000.