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West Valley resident suggests district merger

WEST VALLEY — The West Valley Central School Board of Education held its regular meeting on Monday, March 25, at 7 p.m.

A public announcement was made by Chad Erlandson, whose children attend the school. He addressed the board by summarizing a letter that said, “Our school district is not the only one feeling the impact of decreased enrollment and increased taxes. There are nearby communities, that are taking action to change.” He added that making such a change will help “progress towards a positive future.”

Erlandson also wrote, “School taxes have almost doubled, in the past decade, for average tax payers and school programs are being cut. Enrollment has declined (the current number being 329 students) and businesses are disappearing. How many programs need to be cut, before we realize our children are not receiving the quality experience of their predecessors?”

The resident said that he feels that a merger, or some other course of action, given the lower enrollment of students, would be beneficial to the taxpayers and students. The board members concluded that incentives for a merger are open for discussion, but that they will need willing partners, to do so.

Business Official Ann O’Brien said she believes a financial audit from New York state is likely in the works, and will be addressed shortly.

A reduction of approximately $247,000 is needed for a 2 percent levy increase, for the 2013-2014 tax year. The current budget increase is listed at 3.75 percent, or approximately $322,511.

The tax levy increase is listed at 9.74 percent, translating to about $310,823. Superintendent Eric Lawton said, “The state budget looks positive, yet nothing is official, as of yet.”

Lawton addressed the cost of a softball field fencing project. Board members Dennis McCauley and Stephen Kowalski both said they agreed that it would be to the district’s financial advantage to have this slated as a building project.

A survey was completed, on the basis of the last meeting, for early release days. A survey was issued to students at all grade levels, which stated that students shall be dismissed at 1:30 p.m., one day per month. Of the 65 surveys that were gathered from approximately 90 students, an estimated 55 students were in favor of early dismissals and 30 were not.

John Arbogast was approved as a non-paid assistant coach, for the boy’s baseball team. Amy Butler was approved as an unpaid assistant coach, for the girl’s softball.

The second and final readings of the board policies from last month’s meeting were approved.

Jackie Mumbach, Butler and James Baker Sr. were approved as chaperones for this year’s senior trip to Virginia Beach, to take place May 3 – 5.

The next WVCS board meeting meeting is scheduled for Monday April 15 at 7 p.m. at the WVCS library.


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