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West Valley Central School begins its budget process

WEST VALLEY — The West Valley Central School District will soon begin the process of discussing, and eventually voting on, its annual operating budget.

District Business Official Ann O’Brien said, during the school board’s Jan. 28 meeting, that, while other area districts are having to make “some tough decisions,” West Valley is in relatively-good fiscal shape.

O’Brien said that the West Valley District is now in a better place, financially, than it was, two years ago.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” O’Brien cautioned.

Because the New York State Legislature has yet to pass its own executive budget, O’Brien said that it is difficult to know how much districts will lose or gain, in state aid. Preliminary figures issued by the state indicate that New York is increasing its average aid by 4 percent, a figure that several board members and Superintendent Eric Lawton called suspect and misleading.

Lawton said that the district is focused on distant budgets, rather than immediate budgets. “We’re trying to see down the road further,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape. [Our budget planning] is not just about this year or next year, but further down the road.”

In other board news:
– The board approved an agreement that allows West Valley students to participate with Ellicottville schools in competitive trap shooting. Only Board Member George Kazmierczak voted against the agreement, saying he took issue with the fact that there will be a fee for travel costs. He said that other clubs are not charged and he wanted the process to be fair.

– The board approved a facility use agreement for the West Valley Parent Teacher Association to use the school’s gymnasium for a family roller skating event from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9.

– The board approved Kris Fuller as the head coach for the boys junior varsity basketball team.

– Lawton was approved as the district’s chief information officer, at no additional pay.

– Cathie Nason was approved to oversee the newsletter.

– The board approved the rate of $3 per mile, for the cost of transporting students to field trips that have not been included in the district budget.

– The revised policy concerning concussion management was approved. Changes included additional training for district nurses and medical personnel, as well as a four-day process students must complete, in order to return to contact sports, following a concussion.

– A resolution requesting that the federal government restore funding to the current $75 million that was anticipated when the final environmental impact statement and record of decision in 2010 was passed, concerning the West Valley Demonstration Project Cleanup, was approved. The current budget request drafted by President Barack Obama included $50 million for the project.

– The board entered executive session, to discuss personnel and negotiations. No action was taken.

The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11.

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