The North Collins School Board adopted a budget on April 17 at a special meeting that sets spending for the coming year at $14.8 million, an increase of $472,076 over this year and establishes a tax levy that is under the state cap at 2.92%. However, it required an additional special session to reach the final agreement.
At its April 10 meeting, Superintendent Benjamin Halsey presented a summary of his fourth set of proposals for the new budget which eliminated a .5 Science teacher and a full-time laborer position. It also cut Boys JV Soccer and Baseball. Additions were also included with a .4 increase in music, a .3 increase in Physical Education and a .1 increase in Tech. Also added were two days per week in curriculum support and 1 additional day per week in tech support along with the addition of a part time cleaner.
A consensus soon evolved among the board that it would prefer to see the entire line-by-line budget with all numbers plugged in. That became the reason for the April 17 special meeting.
Board Member Martin Niefergold again questioned the elimination of the Boys JV sports program. The board had been informed that the cut was made following discussions with coaches and a lack of participation by students and a loss of teams in the league. Niefergold reported he had been in contact with coaches who said they found no problem with participation levels and expected to be able to field competitive JV teams next year. The board decided to reinstate the JV program and asked Halsey to find money in the budget to cover the expense.
Reporting back at the special meeting, Halsey reported expenses for the JV program would be $15,000. To fund it, he recommended drawing $8,000 from a School Safety Officer program that has not operated for several years. He also suggested pulling out $2,000 from the equipment line after canvassing expected needs for the year. The remaining amount would have to be placed into the tax levy, increasing it from 2.9% to 2.92%.
With that item in place, the board adopted the new budget. The board will hold a number of public presentations at municipal meetings, the Senior Center and at the next PTA meeting. It will hold a formal public hearing on the budget on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school. The proposal will go before voters on May 21.
At the special meeting the board also accepted the donation of $5,562.03 from John and Mary Franco for the purchase of portable softball fencing for the athletic field. Franco runs a Youth, Under 16 Softball team that currently has no home field. He became familiar with the North Collins facility during a fall tournament held there last year. The acceptance of the donation will allow Franco’s team to use the school field for seven to 12 games per year for the next three years as long as dates do not conflict with district or community events scheduled there. The fencing will be the district’s property and will be utilized for its own programs as well.
Niefergold reminded that nomination deadline for the first class of North Collins Sports Hall of Fame members is fast approaching. While some have been received, he noted that some well-known Eagles players names have not been submitted yet and encouraged the community to send more names.
In other business the board:
• Named as Department Chairs for the coming year: English, Joseph Steger; Mathematics, Mary Ebert; Music, Ruth Davis; Science, Julie Palmer and Social Studies, Thomas Bittner
• As Class Advisors: Grade 7, Kevin Manchester; Grade 8, Jennifer Schmitt; Grade 9, Tracy Robillard; Grade 10, Elaine Verstraete; Grade 11, Carrianne Hultgren and Robert English and Grade 12, Timothy Flanagan.
• Named to Co-Curricular positions were: Book Club, Joseph Steger and Lindsay Koudounas; Bowling Club, Dawn Blidy; Drama Club (Volunteer) Lindsay Koudounas and Rozalin Warren; Marine Biology Club Advisor, Julie Palmer; Mentor Liaison, Scott Kaplan; Musical Director, Grant Walters; Musical Producer,Lindsay Koudounas, Jr. and Sr. National Honor Soc. Advisor, Kevin Manchester; Pit Band Advisor, Rozalin Warren; SADD Advisor, Dawn Blidy; Scenery Advisor-All School Plays, Heather Shean; Ski Club Co-Advisors, Joseph Steger and Arthur Gasiewicz; Student Government Advisor, Brandi Weidright; Varsity Club Co-Advisors, Terri Gier and Ellen Mathis and Yearbook Finance, Carrianne Hultgren and Brandi Weidright.