Small budget increases

Big plans for enhancing the school experience

By LAURIE STUART
Posted 5/12/21

SULLIVAN WEST and ELDRED CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS — Leveraging additional monies from the NY State Education Department, both Sullivan West and Eldred are planning to approve budgets that …

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Small budget increases

Big plans for enhancing the school experience

Posted

SULLIVAN WEST and ELDRED CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS — Leveraging additional monies from the NY State Education Department, both Sullivan West and Eldred are planning to approve budgets that increase offerings to students while maintaining a relatively small tax hike. The tax levy at Sullivan West will rise 1.45 percent, while Eldred’s tax rates will go down for residents of Deerpark and Tusten and increase .5 percent for residents of Highland and Lumberland. (The different rate calculations are due to the equalization rate between how the different towns value their property. The equalization rate is set by New York State.) 

Sullivan West

Sullivan West has an ambitious agenda of educating the “whole child.” This includes investing in new electives and curriculum opportunities, including the addition of Spanish to the elementary school; enhanced instructional programs, most specifically an agri-science course in the high school; and the continued support of the team approach for seventh- and eighth-graders. This will include a change in the middle/high school leadership structure and the reallocation of current staff to middle school principal and of a student support specialist. A district-wide occupational therapist will also be added to provide movement activities, including fine and gross motor support for elementary, middle and high school students. (Currently, only elementary students get these services.)

Additionally, the school is moving toward its 2025 goal of each student having access to a laptop that they could use at school and bring home. It will reallocate staff to create in-house support for teachers around technology and will fund improvements to the facilities, including fiber optics and increased bandwidth, with access beyond the school walls. The elementary school’s 1994 library space will be modernized to create a collaborative research space. 

There are four positions that are available on the board of education.

Brian Kitson and Dena Stevenson are 

running for a three-year term that is vacated by Annette Rasmussen, Katrina Chellis is running unopposed,  incumbent Lucas Arzilli is being challenged by Kristy Sigelakis for a three-year term and Matthew Halloran is running against incumbent Sarah Cooper for a two-year term.

Voters can vote at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon, the Tusten-Cochecton Library in Narrowsburg and the Sullivan West Elementary School in Jeffersonville from 12 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18.

Eldred Central School

For Eldred school taxpayers, the expected increase of $493,002 in state aid offsets an overall budget increase of $198,355. Foundational aid is expected to be fully funded over the next three years. The budget is in three parts.

Administrative costs have an overall increase of 9.86 percent, including increased expenses for administrative expenditures, for the director of instructional services, contractual raises, employment benefits and audit costs for an anticipated single audit. 

Program expenses include expenditures for a special education teacher, the creation of a summer school program for grades K-12 and the addition of a sign language program. Additional facilities and transportation costs include a new van, new play area and play equipment for the George Ross Mackenzie Elementary School, and technology infrastructure improvements. Some of these costs are offset by fewer BOCES and alternative education placements, as well as additional grant funding.

Capital expenses will include sidewalk and pavement repairs at both the high school and elementary schools and the upgrade of the elementary fire systems. Overall capital expenses will decrease $19,323 due to the decrease in debt payments.

Board member Amador Laput is running unopposed for a five-year term for the board of education.

Voting will take place at the Junior-Senior High School in Eldred from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18.

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